May 25, 2015

Exploiting ignorance, or How we're taught about climate change

Tim BallRebel Columnist

Derek Bok, the former president of Harvard University, once said that if you think education is expensive try ignorance. A rarely considered or measured cost is exploitation of ignorance. Confidence tricksters use people’s limitations to take advantage. Global warming is just another example, albeit the largest in history, because the entire world was fooled. Few can explain the greenhouse effect and most who think they can get it wrong because the Earth’s atmosphere does not work like a greenhouse. 

A study by Yale University evaluated public knowledge about climate change. They assessed the results by letter grades A, B, C, D, and F, like a high school assignment.  The “straight scale” results illustrate the problem.

The term “straight scale” illustrates the thinking of those who carried out the project. What they mean is the actual results, but it is only part of the deception. These show that over half the responders failed completely while 75 percent were below average.

Then the Yale researchers did what most educators do; they “adjusted” the results. Instead of facing the reality that the public is ill educated because of the failed education system, of which they are a part, they said the questions were too difficult. All students are familiar with the standard device for avoiding blame namely marking on a “curve”.  This refers to the standard statistical graph known as the Bell curve. It is supposed to represent how results will distribute in a population (N) or a sample (n). Thirty is considered a statistically significant sample. 

In the Yale case, they applied a curve to achieve a more acceptable result.  Not because it improved or proved anything, but it made the public seem better informed than reality; apparently the result they wanted.

Let me see - they set the questions, they decided which questions were too hard, they adjusted the results to produce meaningless results. The unadjusted data is the real picture. Presumably they gave great thought to the questions and presumed the public would cope.

The problem is many of the questions and what the Yale people think are the correct answers are wrong. Unfortunately, most people would not know this. The level of ignorance is so extreme most people use carbon and CO2 interchangeably, unaware that the former is a solid, and the latter is a gas. It allows President Obama to rail against “carbon pollution” when he means CO2 and fails to understand it is not a pollutant.

Here is a graph posted on ABC News website. How many know what is wrong with the graph?

Exploitation of ignorance or control of the message through control of education has been the methodology of totalitarians throughout history. St. Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Jesuits, doctrine police of the Church, understood the permanent impression that the years of childhood make. He said, “Give me the first seven years, and I’ll give you the man.” Our schools follow this dictum, as they are centers of indoctrination, not education.

A great deal of the problem is the result of government taking over education. It solved a problem for families with both parents having to work, but it made the schools babysitting agencies.  Most people have no idea what their children are learning, but that too is changing as more and more people are taking their children out of the failing government run system.

Parents want to prepare their children for life. Unfortunately, a modern western government education does little to prepare them for life. It does great harm by classifying their intelligence and abilities according to a very narrow academic definition of intelligence. It starts with the unwritten and child-destroying assumption that every child that enters kindergarten will end up in university. This means those who don’t are failures by default.

It is the message of the movie Crocodile Dundee that a person from the Australian outback can survive in New York while a New Yorker dies quickly in the outback - yet who calls who primitive or intelligent? A primordial education is about surviving. This is different than formal education as evolved in western societies, which wants people totally dependent on government.  


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commented 2015-05-29 11:49:21 -0400
For over 20+ years I have been asking the “Alarmists” how . . . 1 molecule of CO2 surrounded by 2500 molecules of Other Gases . . . can warm anything? Still waiting for an answer . . . LOL
commented 2015-05-28 05:33:23 -0400
And I agree, but the problem in the education system is so far ingrained that I don’t see a solution. It’s been going on so long, even I experienced it in high school chemistry. Fortunately, I had two parents with whom I was still on speaking terms when I was a teenager, and I discussed my classes and homework with them. I still remember the awkward silence at the dinner table, and the look exchanged between my mom and dad, followed by questions, debate, and ultimately my learning an important lesson after telling them about a grade 12 chemistry global warming assignment. This was in 1997.
commented 2015-05-28 05:20:49 -0400
Dr. Ball, is that a rhetorical question? The biggest of several errors in the ABC News graph is the absence of the most important and abundant greenhouse gas, water vapour.
commented 2015-05-26 07:20:53 -0400
I got rid of my oil furnace. I got fed up with all of the changing oil tank expectations and locally an oil spill is responded to as if it were a nuclear spill. I offered it to a fellow who runs a garden centre and who has greenhouses. He extends the spring season by heating the greenhouses particularly at night. The burned diesel gets vented out the side of the greenhouse. I suggested to him that if the “greenhouse gas” theory were correct, the thing to do would be release the exhaust inside the greenhouse. I also asked him if there was any limit to how hot you could make a greenhouse by making the glass thicker…he said yes…there would come a point of diminishing returns and really thick glass would let in less of the sun’s energy.

The real efficiency of a greenhouse is not the heat it let’s in.Nor is it the heat it retains…because it really isn’t very good at doing THAT….it is the cold it fends off. The atmosphere is fending off the cold of outer space which is cold enough to turn CO2 into dry ice.

If we were to pile everything used as fuel in the world at the south pole and shoot the wad like the little match girl…the fire would not melt the polar ice cap….the smoke from that fire would tend to make the earth cooler….but the CO2 from that fire would melt the polar ice cap by the “greenhouse gas” effect…………………:-)

No wonder snake oil health care suppliments are so easy to sell.
commented 2015-05-26 00:48:07 -0400
Thank you Dr. Ball. You are a breath of fresh air. No carbon pun intended.
I look forward to your next report.
commented 2015-05-25 22:39:31 -0400
Tim I can mention 2 things wrong with the Greenhouse Gases graph. First it completely misses the two most important gases and second does not tell how influential each gas is.
commented 2015-05-25 21:22:17 -0400
What we all should know is that the unique characteristics of the carbon atom are what allows life on earth. Carbon equates with life; without carbon there would be no life on this planet. Secondly, carbon dioxide is essential for green plants and the plants churn out oxygen for humans and the rest of oxygen-breathing life forms. From the beginning of this global warming nonsense, I have regarded the entire matter as a complete absurdity. I cannot bear to listen to the illogical (insane) utterances of supposedly intelligent people. It is compounded when our leaders go to international meetings about grave matters; such as hordes of maniacs beheading innocent people, and utter silly statements about “carbon.” This has become so disturbing to me that I am now withdrawing from watching news broadcasts, and confining my interest to reading selected books. Thank you, Dr. Ball for your essays.
commented 2015-05-25 19:16:51 -0400
Dr. Ball, it is good to see you contributing to TheRebel.Media. I have always found that your down to earth common sense opinions refreshing in a world of climate change extremists, like an anchor in a sea of insanity.
commented 2015-05-25 15:47:39 -0400
Dr. Ball has been one of my go to people for quite some time, I have read numerous articles and watched many video lectures on the subject of Global Warming and the deceptions of the Marxist climatologists. I am glad to see him commenting here.
commented 2015-05-25 14:07:14 -0400
Talk to any grade school student now, and one finds they know more about pipelines, protests, and global warming / climate change than reading, writing or mathematical skills!