29 Mar

For charity covereth the multitude of sins

The director of OXFAM has “demanded” that the governments of “rich” countries take in a great many more refugees than they are admitting at present. Now let me suppose for a minute that the governments of these “rich” countries accede to the “demand” of OXFAM and allow in many more refugees. Let me further suppose, in the interests of a fair discussion, that this influx of refugees leads directly to unpleasant consequences for the citizens of “rich” countries: consequences such as overcrowding, increased burden on the NHS and welfare, shortage of school places, damage to social cohesion and more terrorist atrocities. Would OXFAM then accept responsibility for these undesirable consequences? Would the director put on sackcloth and ashes and, with weeping and gnashing of teeth, call on the leaders of the “rich” countries and say, “I’m really very sorry. I now see clearly that these shocking consequences are a result of my quite unjustifiable ‘demand’ that you let in more foreigners. In future, therefore, I will stop interfering in matters which have nothing to do with the work of an international charity. I will return OXFAM to its original purpose of providing blankets for disaster victims and water pumps for people who live in arid areas”?

No, of course he would never admit to having been in the wrong. And he would not cease to meddle in global politics.

OXFAM is not a solitary example of this kind of corruption – the corruption of exercising political power without political responsibility.

The RSPB long opposed wind farms, saying that these are a danger to birds – until its directors decided to spend £100million of their receipts from public donations to build a wind farm for themselves. Then they attempted to mitigate this hypocrisy by claiming that the “single biggest threat to life on earth, including bird life, is global warming.” And therefore it is right to construct wind farms. Outrageously, this ignores the fact that the public donates generously to the RSPB for the protection of birds, and not to fund the private political fantasy of the charity’s directors. The RSPB also claimed, falsely, that it devotes 90% of its funds directly to the care of birds – while spending £21million annually on advertising.

Where does this stop? It doesn’t – for the abuse of charitable purpose is widespread.

The RSPCA has changed itself into a political force to campaign against hunting with hounds – thereby, it is reported, risking the forfeit of its royal patronage.

Meanwhile, the fabric of thousands of parish churches is being ruined because of the sentimentalists who run the Bat Conservation Trust.

I’m reminded of the saying, “They want to ban bear-baiting – not for the pain it causes the bears, but for the pleasure it affords to the baiters.” When one considers the way charities today politicise themselves, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that – as with the environmentalists – it is power over the lives of others that is the first item on their agenda.

And in their sights they have particularly anyone they consider to be “rich.”

Really, they are Marxists fighting class warfare under the cover of their charitable status.

This privileged status should be taken from them.

21 Mar

Sentient beings are an endangered species

The presenter of a BBC television natural history programme invited us to weep with her over the diminishing number of snow leopards: “There are probably no more than 4000 left.” Of course their demise is very largely “our fault.”

But the basic premise of that BBC programme – and indeed of the whole series of which it was a part, of David Attenborough passim  and of the entire natural history department of the BBC – is the doctrine of evolution which, as we all know, involves natural selection and the survival of the fittest. Specifically, evolution has no room for sentiment. Human beings are not a special creation but entirely a part of the natural order.

It’s not so much the atheism of this view which I detest – though I do detest it –  as the inconsistency amounting to self-contradiction.

If, by their actions, human beings – a few of whom are said to be homo sapiens – reduce the population of snow leopards, then their reducing the number of snow leopards also is part of the natural order.

Evolution knows nothing of ethics.

So that presenter cannot legitimately introduce an ethical proposition, as she did, without stepping outside the doctrine of evolution. But this is precisely what she is not permitted to do – because she holds that doctrine exclusively and absolutely.

Evolutionists believe there is no God and there is no teleology. It has no use for the concepts of praise and blame. So it is senseless to say that the demise of the snow leopard is “our fault” – or anybody’s fault.

Incidentally, the disjunction between evolution and ethics also extends to a similar disjunction between evolution and aesthetics: that is we cannot say that the snow leopard  is beautiful without employing criteria which derive from outside the dogma of evolution.

It is impossible to combine natural selection with cuddly snow leopard cubs. But it doesn’t stop our contemporary Darwinists from going “Ooh!” and “Aah!”

22 Jan

Happy Birthday Sir David!

Sir David Attenborough, the BBC’s chief outward bound correspondent, was being interviewed on TV as part of the celebrations of his forthcoming 90th birthday. It was an interesting, genial and good-humoured conversation about dinosaurs – until near the end.

Then the interviewer asked Sir David for his impressions of the Paris meeting on the subject of climate change:

“Why do you think that there are still so many intelligent, educated people who deny global warming?”

“Because to be informed of the process involves them not only in receiving the information but urges them to do something about it. And that, they feel, is not in their interests and so they excuse themselves by saying they don’t believe it.”

I found this shocking. When intelligent, educated people say they don’t accept the dogma of climate change, it couldn’t be because they have examined the evidence – as intelligent, educated people do – and found it to be spurious could it? No, not according to Sir David it couldn’t.

I wonder where he mines such rich reserves of self-righteousness?

Sir David is a scientist, but it is no part of the scientific method to repudiate theories you consider incorrect simply by hurling ad hominem jibes at your opponents – that they are selfish and concerned only with what they consider to be their private interests

We expect better of the Old Dinosaur


16 Jun

Laudato si

Pope Francis is proving to be a nippy mover. Following his encyclical denouncing capitalism, he has written to us all again in a long letter about climate change and what he refers to as “the planet.” Well, he was wrong to condemn capitalism which is the single economic system to have raised more millions out of poverty than all the other systems ever tried. Perhaps the Holy Father can make up for his earlier mistake in his new letter? And, contrary to popular opinion, the Pope is not infallible except when speaking ex cathedra on matters of dogma.

It’s a gloomy read. Climate change is a catastrophic threat to our well-being, and even to our survival, and most of it is our own fault.  He adds, “The Earth is protesting for the wrong that we are doing to her, because of the irresponsible use and abuse of the goods that God has placed on her. We have grown up thinking that we were her owners and dominators, authorized to loot her. The violence that exists in the human heart, wounded by sin, is also manifest in the symptoms of illness that we see in the Earth, the water, the air and in living things.”

Is it really as bad as all that?

No, not really. The prophets of doom themselves in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – whose non-scientist chairman is a committed climate alarmist – reckon that global warming has latterly been occurring at the rate of 0.05◦C per decade. Effectually, there has been no warming for the last fifteen years.

Leave aside for a moment the apostles of the new secular religion of man-made apocalypse and instead bring on the experts and some facts. Professor Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, writes, “In the constant media barrage of possible greenhouse-related catastrophes, almost any event is now linked to climate change. We should not spend vast amounts of money to cut a tiny slice off the global temperature when this constitutes a poor use of resources and when we could use these funds far more effectively in the developing world.” For saying this, Lomborg has had death threats from the new politically-motivated apocalypticists. Other scientists who do not toe the global warming-is-happening-and-it’s-all-our- fault line have received the same. There are plenty of dissenters. A whole regiment of senior climatologists and meteorologists wrote to The Times last year to complain that they couldn’t get their research findings published – because they disagreed with the maniacal orthodoxy.

If we enjoy a warm spring, the fanatics and obsessives put it down to global warming. If we have an extra cold winter, they tell us it’s a result of global warming. If my nose feels cold or you get an attack of the gout, it will be owing to global warming. The same explanation will be given if England retain the Ashes – or indeed if we lose them. In short, global warming has taken upon itself the character of a fundamentalist religion. And it is the nature of such religions that nothing, but nothing, is allowed to count against them.

I can remember the 1950s and 1960s, colder decades, when the experts confidently threatened us with an imminent ice age. The records over the millennia show that the one thing we know for certain about the climate is that it is constantly changing. The regular cycle of climate change on earth is a series of ice ages interrupted by short periods of temperate weather. There are many eminent geographers and geologists, who have not swallowed the propaganda about global warming, and they tell us that actually we are overdue the next ice age.

Even in the period we call modern history, there have occurred much bigger climate changes than anything we are seeing now. Parts of the 18th century were much colder than today. Dickens speaks of times when the Thames froze over for weeks on end. Whereas in the 9th century, there were vines growing in Greenland. Are we to suppose that the warmth which produced vines at such a northerly latitude was owing to Vikings driving around in four-by-fours? Why do you think Greenland was so called? Because a thousand years ago it was fertile. Since then we have had global cooling. How do you think Hannibal got his elephants over the Alps – with skis and crampons? No, only because in his day there was hardly any snow or ice in southern Europe. Incidentally, the Greens are notorious for getting their predictions wrong. Again I can remember the oil crisis of the 1970s when they told us assuredly that the world would have finally run out of oil by the year 2000. Wrong again, spectacularly.

Furthermore, Global warming is reckoned to be caused by two gases: methane and carbon dioxide. The fact is that the amount of methane in the atmosphere has actually reduced in recent years. And, within the margin of error, levels of carbon dioxide have remained the same. Carbon dioxide is a gas necessary to sustain life on earth and most of it comes from plants and human exhalations. Actually, warming is good for us: there are far more deaths from cold than from heat and, given the chance, people migrate to warm countries.

Why is there this obsession with global warming, this fierce insistence that it is happening and that it is our fault? First, it’s a nice little earner for the university laboratories. Governments have been persuaded by the Green lobby that global warming is happening and so they are chucking money at research departments that will tell them what they want to know. After the fall of Communism, the Left has adopted pretended care for the environment as a stick with which to beat big business. Global warming is happening, they say, and it’s all the fault of the nasty capitalists. Green is the new Red. Strange how people who say they care for the environment deface it with useless wind farms.

The global warming apocalyptics is in reality a new totalitarianism. The government and the BBC will not even discuss climate change. Those who dispute it are shamefully called “deniers” – which is meant to compare them with Holocaust deniers. The former Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, says sceptics are dishonest and “wilfully ignorant,” and Prince Charles calls them “headless chickens.”

As Lord Lawson of Blaby has written, “There are hundreds of millions of people in dire poverty, suffering malnutrition, preventable disease, and premature death. Asking the poor to abandon the cheapest available sources of energy is asking them to delay the conquest of malnutrition, to perpetuate the incidence of preventable disease, and to increase the numbers of premature deaths.

“Global warming orthodoxy is not merely irrational. It is wicked.”

I don’t expect this Leftie Pope Frank to be hearing many confessions from penitent members of the IPCC

27 May

Saving the planet by killing its people

I am grateful to Google for so helpfully telling me which persons I should revere. This morning when I switched on, I was informed that today is the 107th anniversary of the birth of Rachel Louise Carson who wrote the book Silent Spring. This book proved to be a sensational success and its publication, more than any other single factor, created the environmentalist movement. It became trendy – even holy – to be Green. Carson argued that the use of pesticides was profoundly deleterious to animal life. Particularly, if the world continued its widespread use of DDT, the wild creatures would be killed off and we should enter the silent spring of her book’s emotive title.

The consequences of discontinuing the use of DDT have been catastrophic.

For example, in the southern states of the USA malaria killed as many people as scarlet fever prior to its eradication, by DDT, in 1947. After that it killed nobody there. Before 1953, when DDT was first used in India, there were 75 million cases of malaria every year and 800,000 deaths. By 1966 there were fewer than one million cases and proportionally fewer deaths. Similarly, Indonesia saw cases of malaria cut from 25% of the population to 1%. Since the banning of the widespread use of DDT in 1976, the scourge of malaria has returned with a vengeance. Now 2000 children die from it every day, most of them in Africa.

The author of Silent Spring was accused of the selective use of data and of fanaticism. Her most telling critics did not belong to Big Pharma but included internationally renowned biochemists such as Christopher Leaver and Bruce Ames, the immunologist Peter Lachman and the Director of Africa Fighting Malaria, Michael Tren.  The true and accurate data concerning DDT’s great usefulness is still available and I have quoted some of it, above. Alas the fanaticism is still with us and it has become even more fanatical, a sort of worldwide, lethal psychosis. Sentimental attachment to what is called “the environment” has intensified and proliferated like the plague of malaria itself. If you say this, you will be pilloried as a man who wants to slaughter elephants for their ivory, shoot the remaining tigers and make impolite remarks about gorillas in the mist. Of course most of those who criticise the insanity of the Green agenda have no desire to do any of these things. We just don’t think that the best way to preserve animal life is by adopting a policy which murders millions of human beings, and impoverishes countless millions more.

So called environmentalism is not really about preserving animal species – or, to quote the vacuous slogan, “saving the planet” – but about political ambition and the means to control. Green is the new Red. The banning of DDT is probably the most extreme example of the awful consequences of following the Green agenda. There are many other examples of its disastrous effects. The useless windmills which are said to be constructed in order to save the environment but which succeed only in scarring the landscape. The vast subsidies paid to wealthy landowners for permitting these eyesores on their property is not only immoral in itself but also leads to methods of electricity generation which are absurdly expensive and so impoverish the poor yet further.

I have a dream: that one day there will be a great universal awakening amounting to the recognition that all this is sentimental. misanthropic folly, followed by a return to sense and with it the true conservation of a healthy environment.