Kelley Williams, Chair Bigger Pie Forum, June 12, 2014
You got your mind right, Luke? In 1616 the church told Italian astronomer Galileo not to teach that the earth orbited the sun. (Established doctrine had the sun orbiting the earth.) He persisted and was called before the inquisition. Its establishment enforcers wondered if yanking fingernails or burning tender parts with hot irons would help him get his mind right. Galileo decided no such help was needed. So he crossed his fingers and recanted his heresy. He got his mind right like Paul Newman’s Cool Hand Luke.
What Galileo taught was true. But the establishment suppressed it for a long time. That’s the way it goes when the establishment dictates science. Truth ultimately prevails. But it can take a while. The wait can be costly. And dissent can be painful.
Fat’s bad. Right? I recently read “The Big Fat Surprise” by Nina Teicholz. The book challenges conventional wisdom about diet and heart disease. The reporter author spent nearly ten years researching the research behind the theory that eating animal fats causes heart disease. She concluded the research is flawed and the theory is wrong. This is heresy. Establishment enforcers use research grants to discourage heresy. They yank grants, not fingernails, to help deviant scientists get their minds right. It works. But not on reporters who don’t depend on grants.
The book carefully documents the process which captured or silenced scientists (no grants) to declare the food pyramid sacred and animal fat, eggs, and red meat evil. The proponents of the orthodoxy quietly acknowledged that the scientific evidence was not conclusive. But they rationalized that their theory couldn’t hurt. Or to put it more bluntly: We think it’s right. So do it. Eat more carbohydrates and vegetable oils and fruit and veggies. They are good for you.
What if carbs are bad? The diet establishment ignored the dictum of: First, do no harm. Turns out there are harmful side effects from sixty years of the high carb low fat diet orthodoxy. It has hurt. For example, more obesity and diabetes.
The whole process and the results remind me of another political orthodoxy based on inconclusive evidence and fanciful theory. I’m talking about anthropogenic (man made) global warming. This has quietly morphed into climate change since the globe hasn’t warmed in the last 17 years as the orthodoxy’s computer models say it should. More recently it’s morphing into man caused severe weather events. Of course the globe has been warming erratically due to natural causes since the last ice age. And there have been severe weather events going back at least to Noah and the flood (sin caused).
Need a crisis. If you want more government, it’s helpful to have a crisis so government can fix it. Never let one go to waste. Invent one if you need to. We know that burning fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide (so does breathing by the way). And there’s the theory that carbon dioxide causes global warming. Since man burns fossil fuels, government can regulate this and thereby fix global warming. Except the theory is full of fallacies (polite word for lies) and the fix has harmful side effects without fixing anything. Here are a few fallacies.
First fallacy. Warming is bad. What’s wrong with warming? It’s better than cooling. Longer growing seasons, more arable land, more food production, less world hunger, and so on. And who knows what the Goldilocks just right temperature is anyway? To justify a government fix, you must show that the temperature due to imaginary man caused warming is actually harmful. No problem. Just fund the right research, spin and hype the findings, and discourage dissent. If enough people believe it’s harmful, it’s harmful. Until the truth prevails.
Second fallacy. Carbon dioxide is a pollutant. It’s not. It’s essential for life. It is the food for green plants in the photosynthesis process at the base of the food chain. Things grow better and food production increases as carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere. So what’s the optimum level? Probably a lot higher than it is now. And there’s that nagging fact that warming causes carbon dioxide levels to increase, not the other way around. Kind of like the earth orbits the sun, not the other way around.
Third fallacy. Green energy is better. Fossil fuels are the most concentrated source of energy and therefore the cheapest. So they are best source of energy for the poor. Only the rich can afford green energy like wind power, solar power (e.g. Stion), biofuels ( Kior), and clean energy (Kemper). Even the rich like green energy better if someone else subsidizes it. Thus poor countries burn fossil fuels while rich countries play at going green and cripple their economies with higher energy costs. Meantime green political entrepreneurs and their enablers scratch each other’s backs and fatten (oops, that word again) their pocketbooks.
This brings us to the war on coal and Kemper. Coal is evil in the climate change orthodoxy because it emits lots of carbon dioxide when it burns. The EPA enforcers say quit burning it here. Never mind that it’s cheap and generates 39% of our electricity. Or that China and other countries that aren’t rich are burning it there. By the way they emit into the same atmosphere we do.
Clean coal expensive. The EPA enforcers say you can burn coal here, however, if you burn it clean – really clean so that it doesn’t emit more carbon dioxide than burning natural gas. Not to worry that it costs a lot more and nobody knows how to do it. The Department of Energy said it would be nice if somebody figured it out. So it gave Mississippi Power a $270 million grant to try at the Kemper County Lignite Plant. The company was sandbagged. The plant has cost almost $6 billion and is not close to operating. The company planned to make money on the big investment and stick customers with the bill. But it may have to pay for the failed experiment.
Wouldn’t that be a big fat surprise!
To read more about The Big Fat Suprise : http://www.amazon.com/The-Big-Fat-Surprise-Healthy/dp/1451624425/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403897731&sr=8-1&keywords=the+big+fat+surprise