Monthly Archives: December 2009

In Defense of the “Layman”

Although it’s nice to see someone else notice that this East Anglia Climate Research Unit email and data leak has more implications than just for climate science, it’s not something the surprises me in the least.

I have often wondered how presumably intelligent people can use phrases like “science tells us,” “the scientific consensus is,” or, the most ignorant, “the science is settled” (or their equivalents “the numbers are in,” and the “the debate is over”). These are not just utterances of people who can’t argue, and therefore have to declare the argument over. They are rantings of check-your-brain-at-the-door religious fanatics. Science is not God, or even a god. It is simply our best, though flawed, effort to understand the world around us.

And they accuse us Christians of abandoning reason.

The process by which we as humans come to any conclusions about any facts ultimately comes down to this: Who do we trust? Who do we believe? Who is trustworthy? Unless you plan on doing the scientific experimentation yourself (and even that comes with its own set of biases), you must rely on someone else and their own preconceived notions, and, possibly (likely) their own agendas.

Human nature does not change simply because a person spends 4-10 years earning various degrees and can now tack a few initials after his name. We all have our unique biases and motivations. It’s why, for example, honest writers will put disclaimers at the end of what they write when relevant. It doesn’t completely invalidate their opinions or the results of the research they do, but let’s the consumer of the information judge for himself if the results may be unduly influenced by the writer’s or researcher’s background, associations, funding, or ideological views.

When judging a conclusion I look at an author’s previous work. How well was it received? Is it well corroborated? What do his critics say? How well did he deal with criticism? How about his critics? What is their previous work like? Their reputations? If nothing else, the leaked email archive exposes a clique mentality that is inexcusable and destroys the credibility of those involved.

What does this have to do with gun rights (i.e.: freedom)? Well, everything. A free man does not wish to depend on a nanny-state, know-it-all government to come to his rescue. We lay claim to our own lives and against anyone who wishes to lord it over us. There is zero earthly authority for any man to rule over another save the authority we all have to stop tyrants (which includes individuals who trample on the human rights of others). We demand to be left alone inasmuch as our actions do not directly and detrimentally affect the same rights of others.

I include among the definition of tyrants those who would claim that because of their years of study in a certain field, we have no right to question their conclusions, because we haven’t devoted our lives to that same course of study. I will not sacrifice my liberties for your megalomaniac ambitions or chicken little arm waving about TEOTWAWKI.

Environmental-cases, gun grabbers, collectivists…they’re all the same in the end. They treat us as sheep who need a shepherd. Oh, I agree, but that Shepherd is no mere human. And it is not our tasks to bring about a utopia. One of the best descriptions of these modern day teleologists I’ve seen was written by Steven Den Beste at It sheds light on the thinking behind Barbara Boxer’s focus on prosecuting the messenger (hacker or whistle-blower). The alarmists must dodge the credibility problem because the problem is real and that just can’t be allowed to enter the public psyche. Because if they just believe then it will be true. And since their utopian dreams require the unanimous consent of the masses who cannot think for themselves, provide for themselves, and defend themselves, they’ve got to attack and keep the spotlight on the leaker, rather than what was leaked.

Books and other forms of media have never in history been so widely available as they are today. There is very little excuse for ‘leaving it to the experts’ at this point. The experts, when engaged in honest debate and disclosure, have value. But their monopoly on intelligent discourse ended long ago. And it doesn’t take a degree in any of the sciences to see how obviously the leaked data sullies the involved scientists’ reputations.

Same goes for the collective piggish attitude of some LEOs like this one (h/t David). Who are you to decide what “value this brings to the community”? And, though we do believe going armed creates a better society, our rights do not depend on that one iota. Our rights are our rights, and your discomfort with our exercise of those rights by anyone but your fellow JBTs is not, at its core, our problem. We do not exist to make you comfortable.

So, EPA, go ahead and declare CO2 a ‘public danger’. I’m going to keep on exhaling more CO2 than I inhale and you can take a hike. I would encourage businesses around the country to quite simply disobey any new regulations that come out of this declaration. But as an unapologetic capitalist, I lament at the rent-seeker status of most big businesses today. Big business is married to big government in the US. That’s not capitalism.

“Going Galt” is looking more and more attractive in these times.

Keep your power dry.