About the Author:
Ian Plimer, twice winner of Australia's highest scientific honour, the Eureka Prize, is professor in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide and is author of six other books written for the general public, in addition to more than 120 scientific papers.
A growing number of scientists are recognising that climate, environmental and economic modelling of an inherently unpredictable future is futile and illogical.Long-distance predictions have a monumental rate of failure and those predictions made using computer modelling are no different. In fact, the dire predictions by climate groups have damaged science.Such predictions probably tell us more about the group behaviour of the climate modelling community than about global warming. But then again, predictions of the future are not really new.
We live in a technological world. This technology is underpinned by science. The average punter understands neither the science nor the technology used in everyday life. Carl Sagan argued that science is the candle in the darkness and is opposed to the new Dark Age which is underpinned by irrationality and superstition. By corrupting science, we step back into irrationality and superstition. This irrationality of destructive delusions costs communities dearly. Technology appears to produce political problems, the politicians and the public expect science to provide answers to problems and the answers are expected to be unequivocal. Nevertheless, we are told, the world is going to end, we are all going to die slowly, we are going to be fried in a hot greenhouse world and, what’s more, we are going to die poor. And it’s all our fault. Folks, it’s time for indulgences. Or is it?
There is a pretty dismal history of experts making predictions about the end of the planet and other such frightening catastrophes. Most predictions, including those of the climate zealots, have religious overtones. Pessimistic predictions attract interest and there is always a crowd ready to listen to dire apocalyptic predictions.
The New Testament tells us (Matthew 16:28) that the world will end before the death of the last Apostle. The world didn’t end. In 992 AD, the scholar Bernard of Thuringen confidently announced that, from his calculations, the world had only 32 years left. The world did end for Bernard, who died before the 32 years elapsed. The Last Judgement was to take place 1000 years after the birth of Christ. As the world was to end, it was not necessary to exert energy and effort planting crops in what were subsistence cultures. Many didn’t plant crops. In 1000 AD the world ended for many because there was famine. The astrologer John of Toledo circulated pamphlets in 1179 AD showing that the world would end at 4:15 pm (GMT) on 23 September (Julian calendar) when the planets were in Libra. This was taken so seriously that in Constantinople the Byzantine Emperor walled up his windows and the Archbishop of Canterbury called for a day of atonement. Walling up windows worked. The world did not end.