Monday, April 13, 2020

Reflections on esteemed climate scientist, the late Fred Singer

By Joseph Bast

Fred Singer passed away last night. He was 95. That this news was long expected makes it no less sad and disheartening. I write this as if through a veil of tears.

Fred was such a wonderful person, so kind and wise, witty and considerate of others, that everyone who met him knew they were in the presence of a special person, even when they didn’t know he was a world-renowned scientist and prominent public intellectual.

Fred Singer was a giant in the field of climate science. His careers in government, the academy, and then in think tanks gave him a breadth of knowledge and experience that mere specialists invariably lack. Most physicists, for example, focus on the behavior of clouds and cosmic rays while neglecting the bigger picture of biological feedbacks, economics, and politics. Most economists focus on cost-benefit analysis and forget that people don’t care how much fire extinguishers cost when their house is on fire.

Fred understood the physics, biology, economics, and politics of climate change and much, much more. In a dozen books and hundreds of articles he explained virtually every aspect of the climate change issue in terms sophisticated enough to be published in the leading peer-reviewed science journals and so plain-spoken that he could appear in The Wall Street Journal and online at American Thinker.

To me, Fred was a mentor, a true scientist and teacher, and a friend. I first worked closely with him and Dennis Avery on a revised edition of Unstoppable Global Warming ... Every 1,500 Years in 2007. We discovered, to both our surprise I’m sure, that our patterns of thought and expression were so similar that we made an excellent team. We could, as is said, finish each other’s sentences. That partnership led to Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate in 2008, then five volumes in the Climate Change Reconsidered series, and ending with a revised edition of Hot Talk, Cold Science (in production).

Fred Singer’s contribution to the international debate over climate change cannot be overstated. He was a pioneer, one of the first and most prominent scientists to debate his fellow scientists and criticize the false and exaggerated claims of environmentalists and politicians who claimed to be experts on the subject. Where others stayed silent out of fear of retaliation by activists in government and in universities, Fred was utterly fearless, willing to take the slings and arrows of critics in order to defend real (not political) science.

In addition to being a prolific writer himself, Fred encouraged countless others to write and speak out on the controversial subject of climate change. He was always available to comment on other people’s work and to encourage them to submit their work to academic journals or to work with think tanks that would publish and promote their ideas. He had a unparalleled international network of scholars with whom he corresponded frequently, the basis for what became the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

For several years, Fred Singer almost single handedly sustained a debate over whether or not enough is known, or can be known, about the causes and consequences of climate change to justify the regulations and taxes being proposed by many partisans on the left. Thanks to his example, integrity, leadership, and generosity, he soon was not a lone voice in the debate, but instead created a movement — call it climate realism — that today dominates informed (if not academic) discussion of climate change. That perspective, now embraced by President Donald Trump and most Republicans in the United States, is saving countless lives and fueling global prosperity.

God bless you, Fred Singer. May you rest in peace knowing you changed the world for the better and left behind generations of thinkers and doers inspired by your example and nurtured by your friendship.


COVID-19: How Social Justice Warriors Killed Science

Social Justice Warriors and Progressives have worked hard to corrupt the practice of science in the Western countries.   They have been effective in multiple cases and billions of dollars have been wasted in corrupting science to fulfill their ideological desires.

Now that the global is experiencing its first major pandemic in 100 years, the costs of the crushing science will become more apparent.   For a variety of reasons, we are simply not prepared for COVID-19.   A variety of examples below will show how science has been co-opted and how ideology has helped the corona virus to spread.

Many observers have been surprised by the response, or lack thereof, from the American government and in particular, the Center for Disease Control, known broadly as the CDC.

The CDC was founded July 1, 1946, in Atlanta, Georgia.   It was formed as the Communicable Disease Center.   The CDC had a relatively simple scientific mission: prevent malaria from spreading across the United States of America. As progress was made, the CDC began to extend its mission to other communicable diseases.   This included the role of disease surveillance which would evolve to be one of the primary missions of the CDC.

Unfortunately, a series of politicians over the years have seen the CDC as a playground for politics and ideology and have sought to capitalize on its (formerly) good name.   Rather than focus on the role of science in the service of disease control, the CDC became an outlet for progressive ideology.

In 1999, the Clinton Administration announced a national program to eliminate syphilis. On the surface, this sounded admirable and a mission worth of the CDC. However, it soon became clear that the entire project was driven by sociology and ideology, not by science. The search was not to be for a better cure or a vaccine, but rather it was focussed on the  “social contexts of poverty, racism, homophobia, and socio-economic discrimination continue to drive the concentration of the disease in those with high-risk sexual behaviors, poor access to care, or both. ”  The program was an utter failure, as can be seen by the ever-increasing rates of syphilis in the United States and elsewhere. In 2018, the disease reached a record high number of cases in the USA.

In 2011, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced plans for an “AIDS free generation” and an attack plan that would advance on three fronts. As part of this program, the CDC spoke of “three key scientific interventions. ”  As with the syphilis initiative, little seems to have actually happened, other than great amounts of publicity. We clearly do not have an “AIDS free generation” nine years later.

The role of the CDC in the “obesity epidemic” was an even greater fiasco. Once again, politicians attempted to use the CDC for a social engineering project. Obesity is not a disease that can be killed off with pesticides or antibiotics.   For most, massive overeating is a personal decision.   Attempting to use the CDC for social engineering failed again, with more money flushed down the tubes.

The manipulation of science and an operational institution for politics was not just limited to the CDC. Founded in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was intended to be an independent agency of the United States Federal Government. It was to work in the areas of the civilian space program, aeronautics and aerospace research. Under the Obama Administration, however, NASA was expected to be a social engineering institution.   As stated by NASA’s head, retired Marine General Charles Bolden: "When I became the Nasa administrator, he [President Obama] charged me with three things. third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.

All of this together demonstrates that scientific institutions has been repeatedly co-opted to carry out what were essentially social justice warrior experiments.


It is not just the USA that has such problems. A variety of lawsuits have been launched against the Spanish Government for its alleged failures in the pandemic to date which include sponsoring or allowing large demonstrations, even as the corona virus was spreading.   The lawsuits are being advanced by (among others) the Association of Doctors and Medics of Madrid (AMYTS) and the Confederation of Medical Trade Unions (CESM).

The basis of the lawsuits is that hundreds of thousand of Spaniards participated in nation wide feminist marches against the “patriarchy of Western civilization” on 08 March 2020.   The lawsuits advance the belief that the Spanish government, consisting of members of Spanish Socialist Workers’ party and the far-left Unidas Podemos, were more interested in advancing their ideology than they were in protecting the health of Spanish citizens, despite clear warnings of the spreading pandemic.   Spain now has more cases than China.   Of interest, the Unidas Podemos in Spain has been funded by Nicolás Maduro Moros, the President of Venezuela. Among those now infected with the COVID 19 virus are participants such as Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister, the wife and mother of the Prime Minister, and the wife of the leader of the coalition partner Podemos.


Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer is Dr. Theresa Tam. The Public Health Officer is stated to be the “senior Canadian government official on matters related to the health and safety of Canadians. The post is held by a health professional who acts as the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada. ”

Born in Hong Kong and educated in the UK, she is the perfect example of what is wrong with public policy, science and government.

One of Dr Tam’s first major public pronouncements on the corona virus was on 29 January 2020.   She stated ““I am concerned about the growing number of reports of racism and stigmatizing comments on social media directed to people of Chinese and Asian descent related to 2019-nCoV coronavirus… Racism, discrimination and stigmatizing language are unacceptable and very hurtful…”.

Dr Tam was against travel bans as well. She said she was following the “science” of the World Health Organization.   Travel bans, of course, were and are now known to be effective.

Dr Tam, of course, is not much different from her boss, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The self-declared globalist Prime Minister also used the corona virus as yet another chance to accuse Canadians of being racist.   On the first of February 2020, Trudeau stated that “there is no place for discrimination driven by fear” in Canada, as he delivered remarks at a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration in the east-end of Toronto.

Both Tam and Trudeau appear confused.   Dr Tam is in a science role. She should stay in her lane and remember that her role was to protect the health of Canadians, not to indulge in social engineering and virtue signalling. The same can be said for the Prime Minister. As the leader, his role is defence of the realm and the security of the citizens. Faced with a global pandemic, he could not help himself and chose to use the occasion for advancement of his globalist ideology.


One of the little discussed reasons for the massive casualty rates in Italy is the high number of legal and illegal Chinese workers in Italy.   The impact they have had on the corona virus crisis is not yet clear, but large numbers of them had flown back to China for New Year’s and returned to Italy in late January.

US President Donald Trump and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced travel restrictions on China in early March.   As a result, the Mayor of Florence created a “Hug a Chinese Person Day. ”  Like many politicians, Mayor Dario Nardella was more interested in avoiding criticism for racism and advancing his own ideology than he was in protecting the citizens under his charge.   Almost unbelievably, as the crisis was spreading, he stated that he would follow health department directives, but he would not involve himself in “psychological terrorism. ”

Dr Giorgio Palù is a professor of virology and microbiology of the University of Padova, Italy. He had previously been the head of the European and Italian Society for Virology.   His belief is that concerns over politics and “racism” created delays in the response of the government of Italy.   Now tens of thousand of Italians have paid the price.

Once again, science and logic were overridden in the name of virtue signalling and progressivism.


An interesting test case as the corona virus spreads is arising in Sweden.   While other Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Denmark have imposed strict border rules and social distancing regulations, Sweden has adopted a more “wait and see” approach.

Based on their progressive ideology and their self-declared “feminist” government, Sweden has allowed and open borders policy and mass migration over the past several years.   

The current response of the Swedish government has been to shut down universities and major sports matches, but bars and restaurants remain open. Social distancing rules are being “suggested” but are not being enforced.   It is too early to tell if the Swedish approach will work or if it will make matters worse.   Many observers and Swedish officials are calling for stricter action as total cases are reported to be 4,435 with some 180 deaths. (30 March 2020).

A Return to Science
A rather disturbing pattern of responses to the corona virus is appearing.   A number of supposedly science-oriented government officials and political leaders have chosen to deny the reality of the crisis.   Instead, they have exploited the opportunity to advance their own globalists and progressive agendas. To individuals such as Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada and Mayor Nardella of Florence, the opportunity to virtue signal was more important that public policy.

When the first wave of the corona virus subsides and some new form of “normality” emerges, a reckoning will occur. Questions will be asked as to why intelligence and medical authorities warned of the crisis, but the politicians did little. The answer will not be that they did not believe the warnings or underestimated them, but rather the authorities chose to exploit the crisis for their own short-term ideological objectives.

We need to restore science and logic back into the forefront of civic discussion and education.   Science needs to be advanced over political correctness.  Otherwise, our entire existence will decline.


Coronavirus models show the problems of models generally -- including climate models

Computer models compiled by scientists, statisticians and public health experts to predict the number of deaths resulting from COVID-19 have been drastically scaled back this past week. This is hopeful news, but has wider implications. There also should be a serious look-back, given the wildly inflated early predictions of numbers of deaths in the United States.

Computer models are only as good as the assumptions built into them. If the inputs are faulty, the predictions will have shown to be flawed based on real life outcomes. This is playing out with the coronavirus models, and wreacking economic havoc worldwide. This modeling problem has ample precedent.

Flawed computer models have long been rampant in predicting planetary global warming for at least the last 30 years, even as they continue to influence public policy. Perhaps the most famous falsehood was the “hockey stick” prediction of rapid warming of the Earth beginning in the late 19th century after centuries in which the average global temperature was shown—erroneously—to be flat-lined, thereby ignoring prior warming periods.

Demonstrably false climate predictions by the biggest charlatan of our time, former Vice President Al Gore, alone could fill a hard drive, and have regularly been documented by CFACT (e.g., here and here).  The classic response from climate alarmists following a prediction shown to be wrong is to move the goalposts.

Global warming predictions then and now have been so flawed, the label itself has been renamed to “climate change,” which was clever since climate always is changing, so the drumbeat goes on. Unrecognized by man-made global warming proponents is that changes to climate are influenced by a variety of natural factors and always will be, no matter how many trillions of dollars are spent on a “Green New Deal.” Accordingly, it is folly to upend the economy and livelihoods for pretentious climate models.

In a much more compressed timespan, computer model predictions for the number of deaths from COVID-19 are now showing the death toll to be equivalent of a bad flu season rather than the six-figure or seven-figure projections made just days and weeks earlier.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force has been relying on the COVID-19 model produced by the University of Washington (State) Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. In just one week, from April 2nd, the Institute reduced the number of projected deaths from the virus from approximately 93,500 to 60,000 – an astounding 36 percent decline.

As many as 60,000 deaths from COVID-19, or related to this virus, is still substantial and tragic. However, if that number pans out in the months ahead, it would be lower than the 61,000 deaths in America from influenza in the 2017-18 period.

The Institute’s computer model also has quickly scaled back the projected number of hospital beds, intensive care unit beds and ventilators. During the first week in April, projections for needed hospital beds precipitously dropped from about 262,000 to 95,000.

The lower projected number of deaths is due in part to social distancing to the point of shutting down the “non-essential” areas of the private economy; otherwise, the death rate from the more contagious COVID-19 likely would have exceeded a bad flu season. Thousands of businesses have closed and 17 million people are now unemployed. The once bustling streets of New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles and countless other places are near empty.

There is more going on with the declining death rate predictions from coronavirus than social distancing – especially since the recent virus computer model predictions already assumed distancing measures. Increasingly, the computer model assumptions are being seriously challenged, along with the necessity of shutting down so much of the economy to the detriment of millions of Americans.

One reason for the sharp drop of projected deaths from coronavirus is that many Americans already may have had the virus long before the public health emergency was declared in March, particularly in California and Washington State, without being reported as such. Outbreaks of influenza were reported in California around the New Year, which likely spread from the thousands of Chinese traveling daily into the state throughout the winter, which subsequently provided residents some degree of “herd immunity” to COVID-19.

The rapid decline in projected COVID-19 deaths does not mean U.S. residents are out of the woods. New York City, Detroit and other hot spots remain in crisis. But the diminishing public health impact of the coronavirus heightens the need for the federal government and states to re-open the private economy sooner rather than later. Doing so would preclude further economic catastrophe, while maintaining social distancing measures and protecting vulnerable populations.


Ann Coulter blasts “fake environmentalism” in CFACT livestream

While the coronavirus crisis closed college campuses and pushed classes online, CFACT’s Collegians weren’t going to let that stop them from making a difference this Spring!

The CFACT chapter at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities hosted an online livestream discussion with American political pundit and author Ann Coulter last night to get her take on the issues of the day, and to educate their peers in what exercising free speech looks like.

Hundreds of viewers tuned in for the event, hailing from all over the world. Participants from Australia, Mexico, Luxembourg, Britain, Canada, and all over the United States joined CFACT’s webcast to hear what Ann Coulter had to say.

Evan Smith, student president of the CFACT club at Minnesota, did a fantastic job moderating the discussion and representing CFACT.

He started Q&A off with an excellent question, asking: “When it comes to the environmental issues, which have been completely taken over by the radical Left, what about those conservatives like myself who care about the environment but reject the radicalism?”

“Of course, we as conservatives love the forests and waters and even deserts,” Coulter answered. “Those are real environmental issues. The Left has distorted the environment to make it only about climate change.”

Coulter hammered the so-called “green” agenda throughout her talk.

“I think liberals use a fake environmentalism to push their radical agenda of societal change through climate policies and the Green New Deal, but of course real environmentalism is a conservative value…Those who explored our lands and came to cherish the things that make America beautiful.”

Coulter also addressed the problem of Leftism on America’s college campuses, when Evan pitched her a question from the viewers about how to take the nation’s institutions of higher education back from liberals.

Coulter explained she thinks the main problem with colleges and universities is guaranteed loans from government, which make schools think they can do whatever they want and get away with it. If you had more private institutions, and perhaps even the schools themselvAnn Coulter blasts “fake environmentalism” in CFACT livestream 1es, as the main source of funding, you’d find the universities to be much more favorable to other points of view.

When the government creates a monopoly on something, such as student loans, you’ll see competition and innovation go way down.

CFACT’s Director of Collegians, Adam Houser, addressed the crowd at the beginning of the event, and explained some of the shameful things the radical greens are doing during the coronavirus crisis.

“Did you know that some are claiming the coronavirus is somehow Mother Nature’s revenge for climate change, mining, and logging? That’s what Pope Francis and even the Democratic Socialists of America are claiming. It’s shameful.”

For those of you who weren’t able to tune in live for the great discussion, never fear! We will have the video recap up on the Collegians website at very soon.

To all those who donated to make this event possible, thank you. We look forward to hosting more great exercises of our First Amendment right!

During these uncertain times, I’m prouder than ever of our great students like Evan who are not letting anything get in the way of their mission to fight for truth.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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