My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Climate Psychics...

No one goes after climate alarmists for their predictions...
A decade ago, a scientist with the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia said snow would be rare in Britain within a few years. But plenty has fallen in 9 of the last 10.

On New Year’s Eve, a local radio station aired a brief report about an alleged psychic making her 2010 predictions. The report didn’t mention that psychic abilities have never been scientifically confirmed. Nor did it tell us what percentage of the psychic’s predictions from last year had actually come true.

Although it would have been straightforward to check what the psychic said a year earlier, the media doesn’t hold psychics accountable. Likewise, no one holds the media accountable for its false predictions.

In other words, there is no penalty for getting it wrong. There is no downside to behaving – despite all evidence to the contrary – as though it’s possible to predict the future. A newspaper may publish melodramatic headlines. It may alarm readers with dire, confidently-delivered prognostications. But in a month, a year, a decade (or three) when it becomes clear the story was nonsense, no one gets pelted with limp noodles. Nor do writers, editors, producers, and broadcasters publish year-end roundups that let you know just how mistaken they’ve all been.

Given this state of affairs, it’s sensible and appropriate to regard media scare stories with a healthy measure of skepticism. Some people, no doubt, read this Independent story in early 2000 (the headline of which appears above) and felt melancholy afterward.

Although a decade old, it reads much like the average “environment” news story today. The Independent told its readers:

* “snow is starting to disappear from our lives“
* “Sledges, snowmen, snowballs…are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture”
* “within a few years winter snowfall will become ‘a very rare and exciting event’”
* “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is”
* “Heavy snow will return occasionally…but when it does we will be unprepared…Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time“
* “chances are certainly now stacked against the sort of heavy snowfall in cities that inspired Impressionist painters” [bold added]

Readers were assured the future could be accurately predicted because “Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia” said so.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

These seers fall into the same category as all those "End of Days" prognosticators. In a rational society they would all be under psychiatric care.

3:24 PM  
Blogger USMaleSF said...

As Yogi Berra wisely said, I never make predictions, especially about the future.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The post you link to seems to leave this out of the analysis (from the origional article)

"Heavy snow will return occasionally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unprepared. "We're really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time," he said."

The cases that the author points to do not have a time frame on them, instead saying something like a few years. The above makes a specific prediction in a specific timeframe which, in light of the recent problems, seems accurate.

The article also mentions how the media has no responsibility for accurate reporting. Any chance of you leading by example and discussing the whole of the article, not just the cherry picked parts?

John Cross

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just did a quick re-read and I stand corrected, you did mention the 20 year comment, but somehow seem to feel that it backs up the point that the scientist was not making an accurate prediction.

Is that correct?


8:11 AM  

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