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The Independent on Naomi Seibt

I had not heard of Naomi Seibt until my phone suggested I read an article about her in the Independent.

It quotes her thus:

Science is entirely based on intellectual humility and it is important that we keep questioning the narrative that it out there instead of promoting it, and these days climate change science really isn’t science at all. […] Climate change alarmism at its very core is a despicably anti-human ideology […] especially as a German, it is so rude to refer to someone as a climate denier because obviously there is a connection to the term ‘holocaust denier’, which carries a lot of weight in Germany. […] immense impact that the sun has on the climate in comparison to CO2 emissions. […] We must not make ourselves the victim of a tight tax corset…we must not deny ourselves, or the people from awfully poor third world countries access to cheap and reliable energy.” […] Rage and panic belong to our opponents […] Do not create an ideology out of something that a young girl has to say. Regardless of the political side she’s on.

All this seems fairly moderate. The Indy describes her thus:

gaining support from right-wing organisations, including Germany’s far-right party AfD party, and a think tank with links to The White House […] Her stance on the climate apparently caught the attention of The Heartland Institute, a US think tank based in Chicago, which has previously lobbied on behalf of tobacco firms, supports fracking and rejects the scientific consensus on climate change. […] The Heartland Institute’s support and promotion of Seibt has set alarm bells ringing. […] those remaining groups and individuals threatened by the weight of climate science appear to believe Ms Seibt is some sort of opposition figure who can inspire people through similar means […] But while Ms Thunberg is merely hammering home the science – that 97 per cent of peer-reviewed climate studies agree with the scientific consensus that manmade global warming is real – Ms Seibt appears to have more interest in ideology. […] Alongside her interest in climate denial, she has voiced concerns about immigration and feminism, and has previously spoken at events run by Germany’s far-right AfD (Alternative for Germany) party. She has denied being a member of the far-right group, but previous reports suggest she is or has been a member of the party’s youth wing.

Deciding whose language sounds more ideological I leave as an exercise for the reader.

13 comments to The Independent on Naomi Seibt

  • NickM

    The last time we had a “scientific consensus” we put Galilleo under house arrest.

    Didn’t he also write about things of Global Importance?

    Oh, fuck me! Once we had a Pope calling the shots and now we have Pippi Longstocking…

    From Wikipedia:

    The Navier–Stokes existence and smoothness problem concerns the mathematical properties of solutions to the Navier–Stokes equations, a system of partial differential equations that describe the motion of a fluid in space. Solutions to the Navier–Stokes equations are used in many practical applications. However, theoretical understanding of the solutions to these equations is incomplete. In particular, solutions of the Navier–Stokes equations often include turbulence, which remains one of the greatest unsolved problems in physics, despite its immense importance in science and engineering.

    Even more basic properties of the solutions to Navier–Stokes have never been proven. For the three-dimensional system of equations, and given some initial conditions, mathematicians have not yet proved that smooth solutions always exist, or that if they do exist, they have bounded energy. This is called the Navier–Stokes existence and smoothness problem.

    Since understanding the Navier–Stokes equations is considered to be the first step to understanding the elusive phenomenon of turbulence, the Clay Mathematics Institute in May 2000 made this problem one of its seven Millennium Prize problems in mathematics. It offered a US $1,000,000 prize to the first person providing a solution for a specific statement of the problem:

    Prove or give a counter-example of the following statement:

    In three space dimensions and time, given an initial velocity field, there exists a vector velocity and a scalar pressure field, which are both smooth and globally defined, that solve the Navier–Stokes equations.

    That is as yet unsolved and there is a million bucks. That it is Swedish (that’s a Physics Nobel or I’m a Dutchman) and real, serious, mathematics merely sweetens the loganberry pi. Of course actually learning maths and stuff is harder than chartering a yacht across the Atlantic to make-up for the fact that none of the lads wanted to give you tops and fingers.

    I am by training a theoretical astrophysical fluid dynamicist and I know that if I ground my teeth on that one I’d only wind-up with dentures. It is a beautiful problem. When it is solved (if?) then… But, “The science is settled?” Oh, behave! The only difference I see is they burnt Giordano Bruno whereas Saint Greta wants us to all freeze our tits off.

  • David Bishop

    Miss Seibt is an articulate and engaging young lady, whom I first became aware of a few months ago, a calm and well-informed voice in the face of the increasingly hysterical alarmists.

    The Independent (!) piece is a crude hatchet job and the quality of the comments, those that I could stomach to read, ill informed and intellectually poor.

  • A depressed-sounding article on WUWT recently stated that

    The climate wars are in the “pursuit” phase of battle, during which the victorious side runs down and destroys their broken foe. Understanding how we got here reveals much about America’s dysfunctionality (i.e., its broken OODA loop). But first, know that this was not inevitable.

    Though Trump be president, the author feels that climate zealots have crushed or silenced opposition in academe.

    In the real world, I’d say scepticism is alive and kicking – and so is disdain for experts and Greta Thunbergs alike. However the author knows more about the academic establishment that I do. When it comes to getting or even just holding a position and/or getting access to the vast funds extracted from us to finance this, he may have a point.

  • Tim the Coder

    There’s no arguing with religious fanatics. Interesting how both currently popular death cults admire the 7th century and want to live there again.
    Could be interesting doing a comparison – see how much is common to both.

  • NickM

    Until they burn a whicker Greta, Niall.

  • Caligari

    And once again I am ashamed to be a German.

    By the way, Never heard of this person. 😆

    As so often, the prominent Germans in the Westian are quite unknow in the “Fatherland”. By the way, the germans, who became prominent in the east, are mostly dead.

  • Paul Marks

    Germany is a good example of the totally muddled thinking by the establishment – the left (for the left are the establishment and have been since they took over so many institutions in Western countries in the 1960s).

    If the C02-emissions-causes-terrible-things theory is true then people in Germany should be building nuclear power stations – lots of them. But the German government has actually ordered nuclear power to end.

    Instead they chant “renewables” – but that turns out, in practice, to mean burning lignite – “Brown Coal”.

    All the talk of windmills and solar cells can not hide the truth – they are burning coal or they are importing their energy for other places (such as Putin’s Russia – gas).

    It is all madness – even by the own principles the “Green” movement makes-no-sense.

  • Fraser Orr

    I’m not sure I agree with her idea that science is based on intellectual humility. Certainly that is true of the theoretical scientific method, but back here in the real world I think it is a bit different. I judge middle school and high school science fairs fairly often, some at the very highest level. (If you want to have hope for the future of humanity, I highly recommend you do so too — some of these kids are really quite remarkable.)

    At the lower levels a lot of times kids will do an experiment to test a hypothesis and find that the hypothesis was not predictive or their results didn’t have much significance. I will often tell them that “a failed hypothesis adds to the body of scientific knowledge — knowing what doesn’t work is often as important as knowing what does work.” It does soothe their disappointment sometimes, but I’ll also say that I don’t actually think it is true. These kids have invested a large amount of their time and effort into their science projects and so to come up with “no result” is upsetting. However, real scientists, and especially scientists working in commerce, it is not a matter of disappointment, it is a matter of career ending devastation sometimes. (Consider people like Linus Pauling or Peter Duesberg.)

    So real science isn’t really like that. In a sense I think it is more like the adversarial system in a court room. Cross examination is, they say, the greatest tool for the discovery of truth ever invented, and real science comes in that cross examination, not in the original publication. And if there is no cross examination there is very little truth. The prosecution is supposed to act in good faith, but it is the cleansing examination of the skeptical opponent, motivated to make the prosecution fail, that really brings us closer to the truth.

    But another thing that is really important in science is funding. We readily recognize funding shapes the results of science. Even with the purest of angels in white coats, contrarian evidence just doesn’t get published or investigated further if the funder doesn’t like the conclusion. But most scientists are people who want to advance their careers and feed their family, and so there is a fair bit of selective bias in their work. Very few are actively dishonest, but internal biases and preferences do bleed into their work. (Much as with the prosecutors mentioned earlier.)

    And so, were Shell Oil to fund a study on fracking that said it didn’t cause earthquakes, we would be right to be skeptical, right to really examine the data extremely carefully, and with a strong bias against the conclusion. When Big Oil funds science advantageous to themselves, skepticism is in order. When Big Pharma funds science advantageous to themselves, skepticism is in order. When Big Ag funds science advantageous to themselves, skepticism is in order.

    Why then when Big Government funds science advantageous to themselves is not an equal, perhaps even greater level of skepticism in order? Here is some minor relatively unimportant science brought out to obscurity into fame and fortune, lavished with money, feted on the red carpet by Oscar winning stars, published not just in boring science magazines but in popular magazines and TV documentaries. Science that brings to the governments who fund them the possibility of massive taxes and massive increases in their control. And somehow we are to simply acquiesce as if no other motive that pure scientific inquiry might underlie the conclusions?

    When “science” is based on hidden data, ostracizing of opponents, and shutting down of contrary debate, it isn’t science anymore, and red hot skepticism is in order. When gobs of cash and power are on the line one way or the other, we need that cross examination all the more strongly.

    None of this is proof or even evidence that the science of CAGW is wrong, just that one should be very, very skeptical.

  • Peter Barrett

    @Fraser Orr
    “a failed hypothesis adds to the body of scientific knowledge — knowing what doesn’t work is often as important as knowing what does work.”

    Indeed it should, but without publication, it won’t. What proportion of null result research papers are successfully published? The answer is, of course, that nobody knows, but the lost investment in unpublished failed hypotheses and failed replication studies represents the cost of knowledge lost forever.

  • George Atkisson

    Ah. The old 97% canard again. It was 97% of the articles published in a study of AGW. It was NEVER 97% of scientists overall. Just one of many lies being repeated over and over until they become Gospel to the Greens and others seeking power over others. Power is the goal. AGW is just as much a tool in pursuit of power as socialism or any other demand to redo civilization into utopia at any cost.

  • Stonyground

    It wasn’t even 97% of the papers studied, it was a very small percentage. So they threw out most of the non compliant papers and then took the figure from the ones that remained. Extreme cherry picking I think that you would call it. Even if it did mean 97% of scientists, it is just as likely that the other 3% were correct.

    The ad hom is rather blatant and obvious here. Here is a thing. This person doesn’t believe the thing. This person has unpalatable (to us) political views. Therefore the thing must be true.

  • Why then when Big Government funds science advantageous to themselves is not an equal, perhaps even greater level of skepticism in order? (Fraser Orr, February 25, 2020 at 8:53 pm)

    Especially when the ratio of government funding to ‘big’ (ha!) oil&coal funding is 100:1 and upward – and the fame and flattery ratios a lot grosser than that. Like me, you have doubtless read various climate sceptics joking occasionally that they’d be delighted to receive some of this money the climate alarmists keep saying buys ‘denier’ science if only they could find anyone willing to hand it out. 🙂

    It wasn’t even 97% of the papers studied, it was a very small percentage. So they threw out most of the non compliant papers and then took the figure from the ones that remained. (Stonyground, February 26, 2020 at 6:48 am)

    They did much the same with tree ring data – see e.g. YAD06 – The Most Influential Tree in the World and etc. So by their standards, that 97% is a ‘scientific’ result and only ‘deniers’ will deny it. 🙂

  • AfD ‘far-right’?

    They look like center (true) progressives to me.