When 'Everyone' Belongs to the Cult

Monday, November 06, 2023

This morning, I followed a link from a story (Part I and Part II) at Issues and Insights about the latest scientific paper to question climate catastrophism and be ignored.

Said link, also at Issues and Insights likens climate catastrophism to a doomsday cult, a comparison I have only ever heard in a podcast by Alex Epstein, author of Fossil Future, and via the title of Patrick Moore's Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom. (I've read the former, but not the latter.)

Different is not a synonym of wrong. (Image by Sam Field, via Unsplash, license.)
[David] Viner is of course only one of many climate doomsday prophets who have made forecasts that seemed more like the rantings of a mental hospital patient. Their miserable record has been covered by esteemed columnists, reputable think tanks, and occasionally the media. There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to climate change predictions.

At this point it’s fair to ask: What is the difference, if any, between the climate alarmists and the religious cults that predict the end of the world, and rather than humbly rethink their premises after their predictions fail, claim that they just got the day wrong and double down on the loco?

Our answer: The only real difference is that while the doomsday cults have no political power and are routinely skewered by the media, the climate alarmists have nearly unchallenged political clout, deep and wide institutional patronage, and the uncritical support of a press that is not merely sympathetic but actively promotes a deception agenda. [links omitted]
This is a fair point, but it can be bewildering to a thoughtful person (and useful to an catastrophist) to note, as one headline puts it, that it sure looks like, "For Epstein to be right, everyone else has to be wrong."

One of the best aspects of Fossil Future was its discussion of our society's "knowledge system," which explains the many sources of error, distortion, and misinterpretation that exist from lab bench, through publication, to policy agenda when it comes to energy (and anything else).

In other words, it is less mysterious and intimidating, after reading Epstein's work, that so many people are so wrong (or not even wrong) on this issue. Anyone who has seriously engaged with Epstein's book will know what is wrong with such assertions and how the answer supports his main argument.

One of the most common mistakes is to allow a consensus, real or imagined, to cause oneself to assume that one's own thinking is incorrect or fruitless.

Just because a movement is large and powerful does not mean it is correct or that its size and power are a testimony to objectivity or virtue of any kind. Or that it is not, in fact, a cult.

-- CAV

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