The renaissance scholar Galileo Galilei who lived in sixteenth century Italy is remembered as the physicist ,mathematician and astronomer who made the observations and applied the mathematics in concluding that contrary to the long established doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, of which he was a devout adherent, the earth is not at the centre of our solar system, indeed our universe but like the other planets it revolves around the Sun. This was a view deeply unpopular with the Church contradicting as it did much of the Book of Genesis Adam and Eve story which was Holy Writ. Surprisingly the Church took no action against Galileo until in 1633 when he offended Pope Urban the V111 who then ordered an inquisition into Galileo’s writings. Unsurprisingly it concluded that he was a heretic, and he was given the option of either recanting or being put to the torture. He was no martyr to his science and recanted accepting that the earth was the centre of the Universe. He was imprisoned for some years and finally released to house arrest where he died blind and infirm in 1642. An unexceptional tale of the times shared by many brave souls when Church doctrine and religious beliefs dictated what a person was allowed to think and say. Happily for our society the science based world in which we have lived and prospered flowered in the Age of Reason when the hold of the Catholic Church was steadily eroded by the rise of Protestantism with its more laissez faire attitude of; we don’t care what you think or say as long as you sing the hymns, recite the Creed and put money in the plate. It was in this era that the enduring scientific discoveries were made and upon which over the past three hundred years humanity resting on the shoulders of its forebears has steadily enhanced and developed. Such an explosion of practical learning to qualify as “science” was and is only possible if the following criteria are met: belief is irrelevant, observable facts are crucial but must be tested to destruction, science by definition is never “finally settled.” In other words science is evidence based and only when all of the incontrovertible evidence is collected can a science based conclusion or inference be drawn.
This began to change at about the time when in 1985 Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan (both hated by the Greens to this day) persuaded Mikhail Gorbachev not to intervene in the reunification of Germany thus leading to the fall of The Berlin Wall and, as it has turned out temporary relief from the fear of a nuclear holocaust which had haunted the Cold War generation since the Russians first stole the American and English nuclear secrets. It may be a coincidence but at about that time an American named Hansen published the view that as the Carbon Dioxide levels were on the rise there was a prospect that the planet might begin to warm beyond what temperatures were when the levels were about 400 parts per million. Thus, was born the notion of “global warming” which for the many who must worry about something catastrophic beyond their control neatly filled the void created by the receding threat of a nuclear holocaust. The idea got off to a rocky start in the scientific community. Of the many scientists who dismissed the theory as fundamentally flawed, Richard Lindzen who was the Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pointed out not only that a gas which comprises some point zero four percent of the total atmospheric gasses, and be it noted without which there would be no life on the planet might give rise to an increase in atmospheric temperatures, but crucially that such increase in temperature occurs before any increase in Carbon Dioxide. With the only possible conclusion that to understand what causes the cyclical fluctuations of temperature to which our planet with Ice ages coming and going it is necessary to look elsewhere. He concluded that the obvious candidates include; the effect of the earths elliptical orbit around the sun, sunspot activity and other solar phenomena. This, and similar evidence was sufficient to convince a United States Senate Committee convened to consider the topic that the theories of Hansen and his ilk are not sound science and for a number of years they receded into the Green covens who thrive on undermining the market economy which to this point depends on fossil fuels, and the associated personal freedoms. But help was at hand in the form of Al Gore, who knows no science with his dishonest films of polar bears floating on lonely ice blocks off the coast of California. More importantly the United Nations took a hand. It convened a panel of “scientists” to consider the single topic of whether or not human contributions to natural Carbon Dioxide levels thought to be about three percent of the point zero four percent (0.0012 percent) are a cause of warming of the planet if in fact it is warming. The panel set about its task with enthusiasm using computer models (you know rubbish in rubbish out) rather than empirical observations and deductions and concluded that the planet would warm by about four degrees by the end of the century causing massive sea level rises and other natural disasters unless humankind stopped using fossil fuels. It must have come as a nasty shock for them to acknowledge last year that the two computer models upon which they relied in concluding the four degrees of warming are in fact flawed and have no scientific utility. They have been discarded leaving only those models which show about two degrees warming over the same period. Unsurprisingly we have not heard much from the IPCC over the past few months except to shift their condemnation of Western economies from the global warming scare mongering to demands for compensation for poorer countries arising from the wealth that the use of fossil fuels has created. One would have thought that such wealth was fatally tainted but free money is money I suppose wherever it can be found.
While all this has been going on there has been an unstated acceptance by the green lobby that the warming is not what they had hoped so the term was dropped. Instead, they now talk about “climate change” which is suitably devoid of meaning but creates that general feeling of unease, and in some instances morphs in “catastrophism” another meaningless word but redolent in fear of the unknown. The public are treated to endless media presentations of burning forests, massive floods, and drought stricken plains (some of which look awfully similar to the last viewing). It seems that what passes for the current science is that slightly elevated levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere are the cause of any climatic variation; rain drought, heat cold and that there are no other possible causes. Supporting this dishonest shift in search of a villain we now no longer refer to that villain as Carbon Dioxide but to “Carbon,” and decarbonisation a rock very little of which is found in the atmosphere. Presumably this is because somebody pointed out to the Greenies the awkward scientific (that word again) truth that CO2 is necessary for their vegan diets.
Finally into this mix big business has been casting a jealous eye on the massive profits of the fossil fuel companies and decided to get in on the act by condemning further reliance on their use and proposing alternative forms of “green energy.” Green they may be but pity help the country which decides to rely on wind and solar farms, and hydrogen, the current runners for its energy supplies.
Enter Maureen Pugh
Maureen is a West Coast MP and National Party whip. Having had the pleasure of meeting her and discussing a variety of topics she presents as somebody of common sense and humour not easily swayed by the current fashions in the topics of the day. In an interview she was asked if she believed in human induced “Climate Change” her reply was “I would like to see the evidence first.” A perfectly reasonable stance having regard to the brief synopsis set out above. Given that the term has no discernible meaning and no doubt she was aware it is just a façade for global warming the earlier iteration. Unfortunately the question arose at the time of the North Island floods and although they have nothing to do with human induced C02 levels it was twisted by the state owned media as a callous remark which denigrated the loss and disturbance suffered by the people of the affected areas. Well, we all say things which in the particular circumstances we would rather not, given the wall to wall opposition of the bought and sold media to anything to do with the National Party. In those circumstance loyal colleagues would have been expected to come to Maureen’s aid and give her an opportunity to explain what she meant and to reinforce that her remarks had nothing to do with the recent wet and windy weather. Not a bit of it. The Inquisition 2023 was immediately convened. Maureen was found guilty of doubting that human induced increased C02 levels caused the flooding, humiliated, and sentenced to read publications provided to her by her leader and his deputy. In addition, in classic Galileo fashion she was belittled in the media (and one can only speculate what she was subjected to in the headmaster’s office and the Caucus) and forced to recant no doubt under treats of her future in the National Party.
Enter the Inquisition 2023
This public humiliation of Maureen was carried out by the National Party Leader Christopher Luxon and his deputy Nicola Willis. They arrived at a press briefing captured on television (rare for a National Party event) with faces like thunder denounced Maureen and announced that she has a lot of reading to do. Helpfully they offered to supply the reading material. The question arises why were they so upset – surely it is not a precondition of membership of the Caucus (and what about the Party) that they all believe in global warming. To answer the question it is necessary to say something about their backgrounds and “beliefs.” Ladies first. Nicola is the product of an inner city – Wellington privileged background. Her mother was a respected journalist and her father rose to become a senior partner in a large national law firm. She attended two private schools; Marsden and Kings went on to study literature at Victoria and later journalism at Canterbury. She then worked for Bill English and later John Key. Her privileged life experience is therefore restricted to academe and politics. Like many of this background she has absorbed the global warming mantra. Given her commitment to global warming and the Blue/Green wing of the Party she is what the Australians call a Teal (work it out). They are the candidates mostly professional women who stood for the safe inner city Liberal seats at the last Australian election on a platform of saving the planet from man made global warming and were crucial in the demolition of the Liberal Party at that election.
Christopher Luxon is cast in a different mould. He came from an under privileged Christchurch background and has always had to work his way up in the world culminating in his present position. He is a father and a husband. He has held senior international positions in large companies. The last of which is Air New Zealand which confusingly puts more C02 into the atmosphere than most enterprises. Importantly and to his credit as a human being he is a committed Christian. Unfortunately for present purposes Judaeo Christianity is a “belief” system in which the adherents profess “belief” in some unknowable entity. It has nothing to do with science which is about the exploration of the physical world and beyond. Indeed, belief stops at the door of science and will never be admitted. In a more prosaic way it is similar to the common law which deals only in proven facts and the applicable law (or used to before the dreadful Tikanga decision of the Supreme Court). I once committed the cardinal sin of telling Sir Edward Somers during argument that I believed something to be true. The rejoinder was swift; I will hear your submissions I am not interested in your beliefs. Given that such is the incontrovertible core of science it is deeply distressing to hear both Willis and Luxon telling the public that they believe in man made global warming. They referred to it as climate change but as discussed above that is because the “global warming” which is how the whole debate arises is becoming a non starter let alone any role man made Carbon Dioxide emissions may have in weather patterns.
As discussed, he challenged the holy writ of the Roman Catholic Church at the zenith of its power, about an observable physical phenomena and suffered grievously for so doing. Maureen will not suffer physical punishment but with the warmers in charge it is not hard to surmise that her political career will suffer to the detriment of her West Coast constituents.
The public response to Maureen’s request for evidence.
Social media has been alive with this issue and the response has been uniformly critical of the modern-day Inquisition. The commentary has been articulate and considered and one can fairly suppose that many of the contributors are heartland National voters. The word on the street is unanimous, they will vote for their National member but their Party vote will go elsewhere probably to ACT. It is unimaginably stupid for National to find itself in this position over such a fundamental matter as freedom of thought. Not only is Maureen’s response protected by the New Zealand Bill of Rights but her right to express her opinions are part of National’s raison d’être. The election is theirs to lose, very few voters want a return of the tribal Marxists but neither do they want such a heavy-handed medieval response to freedom of speech in such a contestable matter.