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Why John Kerry’s Flat Earth Society Slam is all Wrong

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John Kerry said the following in a speech he gave at a graduation ceremony at Boston College:

If the US does not act and if it turns out that the critics and naysayers and the members of the Flat Earth Society — if it turns out they’re wrong, then we are risking nothing less than the future of the entire planet.

This isn’t the first time Kerry pulled the “flat earth” card to support the man-made global warming myth. For example, on the February 15, 2014 “Sunday morning program CBS News Sunday Morning, [Charles] Osgood touted a recent speech by Secretary of State John Kerry in which Kerry ‘likened deniers of climate change to those who once believed the Earth is flat.’”

Almost any time some scientific theory is questioned, the questioners are compared to people who believed the earth was flat.

Where would science be today if every time someone questioned a theory, those supporting the existing theory ridiculed and banned the questioners? Louis Pasteur was ridiculed for his claim that unseen organisms caused diseases—the germ theory of disease .

Pasteur also put to rest the scientific belief at the time of spontaneous generation—abiogenesis. If Kerry wants to talk about bad science, he should go after the evolutionists who claim that spontaneous generation explains the origin of life.

In 2010, Stephen W. Hawking argued that the laws of physics allow for the universe to have created itself . . . from nothing. In their book, The Grand Design, Hawking states:

Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.

A “law”? “Create itself”? “Spontaneous creation”? This is science? These are some of the same scientists who are pushing so hard that man-made global warming is a reality. Maybe it’s happening “spontaneously.”

Then there’s the unknowability factor that plagues the nature of science. Peter J. Leithart writes, quoting Nicholas Rescher in his book Unknowability:

Given the way scientific research and discovery work, it is impossible for present science to anticipate future science, or even to understand it. The reason is that “every new discovery opens the way to others, every question that is answered gives rise to yet further questions to be investigated. . . . Our questions—let alone answers—cannot outreach the limited horizons of our concepts. Having never contemplated electronic computing machines as such, the ancient Romans could also venture no predictions about their impact on the social and economic life of the twenty-first century. Clever though he unquestionably was, Aristotle could not have pondered the issues of quantum electrodynamics. The scientific questions of the future are—at least in part—bound to be conceptually inaccessible to the inquirers of the present” (12).

Beyond the limits of science, there are several problems with Kerry’s claim that people who question the thesis that climate change is the result of the actions of humans are like people who believe in a flat earth.

The first reason why this comparison is wrong-headed should be obvious to everybody. You don’t have to be a scientist to prove the earth is round. All a person has to do is get in a boat and sail into the sunset like sailors have been doing for centuries. Sailors weren’t afraid of falling of the edge of the earth. Their main fears were losing sight of landmarks for long-range navigation. The Longitude Prize is a perfect example of the problem:

The British government launched the Longitude prize in 1714 in response to a string of disasters at sea. With no way of calculating their position, ships were running off course, and costing lives and trade. And so a prize of £20,000—several million in today’s money—was offered for anyone who could find a way to measure longitude. The eventual winner was an outsider: rather than an astronomer, as had been expected, the prize was won by a clockmaker, John Harrison.

Second, there is overwhelming evidence that nobody of any significance believed the earth was flat. The best book on the subject is Jeffrey Russell’s Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians. It’s a devastating critique of the flat earth myth. The claim that Christopher Columbus had to convince the scientists and cartographers of his day that the earth was round is pure fiction, manufactured by Washington Irving in his 1828 two-volume biography of Columbus. The dispute with Columbus in the 15th century was over how big around the earth was not—whether the earth was round or flat. And, by the way, on that front, Columbus was wrong; the map makers were right.

For decades, the flat earth slam was standard historical mythology that was written into our nation’s textbooks and pulled out as an ideological hammer every time some liberal lie is questioned.

One critic of Russell’s book claims that evidence for the belief in a flat earth can be found in the Hereford Cathedral, located at Hereford in England, and the 13th century Hereford Mappa Mundi.

Hereford_mappa_mundi_14th_cent_repro_IMG_3895

This would be similar to an archeological dig a thousand years from today finding a cache of maps hanging in public schools from the 1960s and concluding that people in the 20th century believed in a flat earth. Are our GPS systems globes or are they flat with four corners?

Mappa Mundi is no different from the way school children today study geography:

The “T and O” shape does not imply that its creators believed in a flat Earth. The spherical shape of the Earth was already known to the ancient Greeks and Romans and the idea was never entirely forgotten even in the Middle Ages, and thus the circular representation may well be considered a conventional attempt at a projection: in spite of the acceptance of a spherical Earth, only the known parts of the Northern Hemisphere were believed to be inhabitable by human beings (see antipodes), so that the circular representation remained adequate.

Kerry and other global warming enthusiasts are using one myth to perpetuate another. They are counting on an ignorant people so they can get away with the mythology in order to raise taxes, implement more regulations, and control our lives.

Third, I don’t know anybody who denies that the climate is changing. It changes every day. We’ve had hurricanes, snow storms, torrential rains and flooding, and droughts in the past, and we’ll have them in the future. A little historical digging will prove the point. Twenty years of weather patterns is not a long time when compared to earth’s history.

The sample is too small to control the lives of 7 billion people by bureaucrats who can’t even run a hospital or the DMV well. Making predictions about future weather conditions based on present temperatures and weather patterns is a risky predictive business.

Fourth, there isn’t universal agreement that man-made global warming is a fact. It’s the “man-made” qualifier that’s the issue. I suspect the sun—that fiery star 93 million miles from earth—has a lot to do with climate change. There are good scientists who dispute the evidence presented by global warming advocates. Of course, they are not permitted to question the evidence.

Fifth, too much of the scientific community gets its money from grants that come from the government taken from hard working Americans. There is a reason to fudge evidence or at least put the best spin on evidence if your job depends on the outcome. Power and money are the deciding factors on how the “facts” are spun.

Sixth, man-made climate change is impossible to verify. “Whatever happens,” Joel B. Pollak writes, “it’s ‘climate change,’ because even the extreme cold must have been caused by some kind of heating somewhere else in the world.” He goes on to make another important point:

Philosopher Karl Popper described the essence of a scientific theory as “falsifiability”—i.e., it must be possible to conceive of a way to disprove the theory, so that its validity can be demonstrated and defended. Climate change, at least in popular discourse, is unfalsifiable. Everything is taken as proof that it is happening, and the repeated failure of sophisticated climate models to predict the actual, observed results is hardly noticed. Even the name of the phenomenon itself has been changed to fit the rather contradictory outcomes ascribed to it.

Much of science today, because of its close alignment with government, has a medieval feel to it. Like their medieval counterparts, they must cozy up to the government to get their subsidies. “Many scientists have said that government funding of research sometimes has strings attached that stifle the spirit of independent inquiry.”

Remember how the tobacco industry was slammed for publishing scientific studies that claimed that cigarette smoking was not detrimental to a smoker’s health? The argument was made that the reason for the positive spin was because the tobacco companies paid for the reports.

Research has shown that the “detrimental facts of tobacco use were known to that industry” but were falsified and suppressed. To combat the facts, “cigarette makers used medical doctors in their advertisements to promote smoking cigarettes.” Here are two examples:

  1. More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette.
  2. “Doctors in all branches of medicine smoke Camels. ‘See how Camels agree with your throat.’”

 

“The none-too-subtle message was that if the doctor, with all of his expertise, chose to smoke a particular brand, then it must be safe.”

We can apply this to Climate Chaos: “The none-too-subtle message is that if scientists, with all their expertise, say that man-made global warming is a fact, it must be true.”

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