Skeptics can ignore science, too


Skeptics of global warming claim to have science on their side. Yet, I see belief in non-scientific ideas a lot with skeptics. It would seem they are guilty of that which they accuse others.

Recently, one such skeptic claimed it was the fault of those who withhold fossil fuels and modern methods from Africa that is causing the locust plague, along with anti-pesticide groups. Said skeptic brags how America has no such problems and implies if Americans and “scientific” people had their way, this problem would not exist. Another skeptic calls it a “man-made” problem. Great for the “evil AGW and greenies hate Africans” line and a complete fabrication. Reports of Africans using dishtowels to beat the locust off did not list this as a first choice in any news items I found, though this was implied by the skeptic’s writing. It was due to lack of pesticide supplies, a manufacturing problem, not lack of modern methods and because even with modern methods, there is very often no way of controlling the locust ANYWHERE. People are so arrogant in this that they will apparently deceive to make Americans and skeptics look like the “winners” and “good” guys.

There are locust swarms in South America, Africa, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand. Unless the writer is saying all of these countries are backward hellholes without pesticides, planes to drop the pesticide, ancient farming techniques, etc, then claiming the problem is manmade is problematic and highly disingenuous. Another commenter on a blog claimed that clearly stated “modern farming methods” were the savior and I was reading the MSM and hated modern farming methods (interesting that skeptics can make HUGE leaps completely irrationally to subjects not in any way related to what was actually said). I checked. The Rocky Mountain locust in North America was declared extinct in 1902 after the last one was reportedly found in a Canadian field. The locust swarms that were huge in the 1880’s across North America disappeared, in less than 30 years. I also checked. “Modern farming” was plowing with oxen or horses. There were no pesticides in mass use. There may have been some “organic” methods used, but not widely. So the claim made by is horse drawn plows and no pesticides were the “modern farming” that destroyed the locust.  Seems unlikely when you actually think about it, doesn’t it?

This from High Country News, written by Jeffrey Lockwood Feb 3, 2003

“At the time of the insect’s disappearance, there were no synthetic carbon-based pesticides, no modern earth-moving equipment, not even chain saws. Settlers fought back with what tools they had, from flooding to fire to dynamite. But this hand-to-hand combat didn’t make a dent against an enemy that was billions strong. So one could only conclude that if humans had wiped out the Rocky Mountain locust, they had done so inadvertently. In other words, the most spectacular “success” in the history of economic entomology — the only complete elimination of an agricultural pest species — was a complete accident.”

Lockwood is an entomologist that did extensive research on the Rocky Mountain locust by obtaining samples of dead locust frozen in a Wyoming glacier. He’s not a news person or a politician. He’s a researcher. His article in the High Country News is worth reading.

Lockwood’s conclusions were obviously not politically or socially acceptable, in spite of mountains of evidence. Many people were not happy with his theory.  I got the same response when commenting North America had lost the locust purely by luck. It seems skeptics are equally unwilling to believe anything other than what they believe “by faith” or an “authoritative source”, just as the AGW people do. In spite of my having spent several hours, read multiple research papers and checked numerous theories of what happened to the locust, my disagreeing with the “Green People Bad” mantra meant I could not be right, I should stop depending on the MSM and get out more. This always makes me truly sad. I wish there was a side where truth mattered and there are a few bloggers and scientists who fit that bill, but the skeptics seem to have now taken to using “Green People Bad” to push the cause. It’s sad for science, it’s sad for the future.


One comment on “Skeptics can ignore science, too

  1. Gary says:

    U.S. locust disappearance was an unusual occurrence that made it possible for the country to grow into the role that saved Europe from tyranny three times and developed a world economy of huge benefit to billions. Makes one wonder …

    Yeah, people think emotionally and then bend rational thought and facts in support.

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