Summary: Earlier this week we showed an example of crude propaganda about climate change (much like the dying children in “How to Cut Carbon Emissions“). Today we look at an example of excellent climate propaganda, and speculate about the wider significance of these matters.
Science uncovers many amazing new facts. Such as the startlingly rapid molding of a species found in “Early Canid Domestication: The Farm-Fox Experiment“, Lyudmila N. Trut, American Scientist, March-April 1999 — “Foxes bred for tamability in a 40-year experiment exhibit remarkable transformations that suggest an interplay between behavioral genetics and development”. Excerpt:
In the 6th generation bred for tameness we had to add an even higher-scoring category. Members of Class IE, the “domesticated elite,” are eager to establish human contact, whimpering to attract attention and sniffing and licking experimenters like dogs. They start displaying this kind of behavior before they are one month old. By the 10th generation, 18% of fox pups were elite; by the 20th, the figure had reached 35% . Today elite foxes make up 70 – 80% of our experimentally selected population.
Has something similar happened in America? How did we evolve from the unruly, difficult to manage Americans of the Founding era to the easily fooled — and so easily led — Americans of today? We see this in politics. Bush Jr tells us lies about Iraq and Afghanistan, and off we go to war. Obama tells us lies about Libya, and off we go to war. Now we’re bombarded with lies about Iran (similar to those about Iraq) and — stay tuned for the next act.
We see this in the climate wars fought to mold and harness public opinion. Much of mainstream media reporting has become little but exaggerations and misrepresentations about climate change, far beyond what’s in the science literature. Here we look at one such volley.
It’s like watching ‘Manhattan breaking apart in front of your eyes’, says one of the researchers for filmmaker James Balog. He’s describing the largest iceberg calving ever filmed, as featured in his movie, Chasing Ice. After weeks of waiting, the filmakers witnessed 7.4 cubic km of ice crashing off the Ilulissat glacier in Greenland. Chasing Ice, released in the UK on Friday, follows Balog’s mission to document Arctic ice being melted by climate change.
— From “Chasing Ice movie reveals largest iceberg break-up ever filmed“, The Guardian, 12 December 2012
Form a comment on the FM website:
“I found the photos of the 3 year melt at the Solheim Glacier (Iceland) to be particularly frightening. I’ve seen the impact of glacial melt with my own eyes and know that it is real. This interview and the related material have convinced me that the melt rate has accelerated dramatically.”
Here’s the trailer to Chasing Ice.
This has become the centerpiece in a barrage of propaganda. Feel the fear:
- “The Ice Chasers“, Science Friday (broadcast on NPR), 29 November 2012
- Interview: “Photographer James Balog on Climate Change and ‘Chasing Ice’“, Science Friday, 30 November 2012
- “A Video To Make You Believe in Global Warming“, Will Oremus, Slate, 12 December 2012
- Behold: The Largest Iceberg Breakup Ever Caught on Film”, Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 12 December 2012 — “The effects of climate change, in one gorgeous, terrifying video”
While accurate about the details (more or less), the message is not just about global warming (incontrovertible evidence shows substantial warming during the past two centuries), but about catastrophic climate change from anthropogenic emissions of CO2 — which is far less certain, and about which ice caving proves little or nothing. For some hidden (by the media) context about global warming see:
- Still good news: global temperatures remain stable, at least for now., 14 October 2012
- When did we start global warming? See the surprising answer (it’s not what you’ve been told).
How does related to domestication of silver foxes 0r Americans? The science of propaganda works on us all; that’s human nature. But I fear we have become domesticated, in the sense of more easily persuaded by propaganda and less willing to change our views in response to new data.
What happens when Americans see that they’ve been given misrepresentations or even outright lies? The FM website’s 27 thousand comments provide a laboratory to watch this process in action on people of the Right and Left. The answer: nothing. People seldom change their beliefs once indoctrinated, even when shown evidence that they’re been told outright lies (much bolder propaganda than the subtle indoctrination of this film). Nor does evidence of lies shake their confidence in the information sources that provide lies.
It’s this that makes America a joy to rule. A people so docile, so eager to lap up pleasing propaganda — no matter how rancid it proves. So long as we remain so easily fooled, the plutocracy will gain strength year by year. Generation by generation.
But it need not be so. The blood of our rebellious, skeptical forefathers still runs in our veins. We can be what we were, and better, if we choose to be.
For More Information
(a) Another fun example of climate propaganda
“Is Climate Change To Blame for Honeybee Decline?“, by the Slate V Staff, Slate, 12 December 2012 — This purports to describe “Researchers identify new components of the epigenetic ‘code’ for honey bee development“, Phys.org, 11 December 2012. In fact, the Phy.org article says nothing like that.
They believe their readers to be credulous fools. Are they correct?
(b) What happens to the ice caps as the climate warms?
It’s an active area of research , as scientists work to reconstruct the past and build models to understand the various processes at work. Here’s one, a good summary of current thinking: “Increased future ice discharge from Antarctica owing to higher snowfall“, R Winkelmann et al, Nature, 13 December 2012
During the past decade, the Antarctic Ice Sheet has lost volume at a rate comparable to that of Greenland. The enhanced moisture-carrying capacity of a warming atmosphere, on the other hand, strongly suggests increasing snowfall over Antarctica, as projected by global and regional climate models. This may lead to a net negative contribution of Antarctica to future sea level, depending on the magnitude of dynamic effects possibly compensating or even overcompensating this ice gain.
Abstract (references omitted):
Anthropogenic climate change is likely to cause continuing global sea level rise, but some processes within the Earth system may mitigate the magnitude of the projected effect. Regional and global climate models simulate enhanced snowfall over Antarctica, which would provide a direct offset of the future contribution to global sea level rise from cryospheric mass loss and ocean expansion. Uncertainties exist in modelled snowfall, but even larger uncertainties exist in the potential changes of dynamic ice discharge from Antarctica and thus in the ultimate fate of the precipitation-deposited ice mass.
Here we show that snowfall and discharge are not independent, but that future ice discharge will increase by up to three times as a result of additional snowfall under global warming. Our results, based on an ice-sheet model forced by climate simulations through to the end of 2500, show that the enhanced discharge effect exceeds the effect of surface warming as well as that of basal ice-shelf melting, and is due to the difference in surface elevation change caused by snowfall on grounded versus floating ice. Although different underlying forcings drive ice loss from basal melting versus increased snowfall, similar ice dynamical processes are nonetheless at work in both; therefore results are relatively independent of the specific representation of the transition zone.
In an ensemble of simulations designed to capture ice-physics uncertainty, the additional dynamic ice loss along the coastline compensates between 30 and 65% of the ice gain due to enhanced snowfall over the entire continent. This results in a dynamic ice loss of up to 1.25 metres in the year 2500 for the strongest warming scenario. The reported effect thus strongly counters a potential negative contribution to global sea level by the Antarctic Ice Sheet.
(c) About the farm-fox experiments
- A non-technical description: “Man’s new best friend? A forgotten Russian experiment in fox domestication“, Jason G. Goldman, Scientific American, 6 September 2010
- A summary of the various theories in this controversial field (the Farm-Fox experiment being one pole of the debate): “What did domestication do to dogs? A new account of dogs’ sensitivity to human actions.“, Monique A. R. Udell et al, Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, May 2010.
- See PubMed for links to many of the papers in the massive literature on this subject.
(d) Other examples of climate propaganda
- Fear or Fail: about the melting Greenland ice sheet, 24 May 2010
- Lies told under the influence of the Green religion to save the world, 30 July 2010
- Programs to reshape the American mind, run by the left and right, 2 August 2010
- Damn the research! We need to act now to stop global warming., 17 August 2010
- Puncturing the false picture of a scientific consensus about the causes and effects of global warming, 20 September 2010
- A new video about global warming, a Leftists’ wet dream pretending to be humor, 1 October 2010
- More about the forecast for flooded cities in the late 21st century, 16 October 2010
- Kevin Drum talks about global warming, shows why the Left’s credibility has collapsed, 17 October 2012
- Mother Jones sounds the alarm about global warming! This time about the north pole., 10 December 2012