This is a tale about mad scientists or mad ‘wanna-be’ scientists who have the money and/or power to implement their very dangerous ideas. It is a cautionary tale about the great dangers we face from those who claim to understand science, but frequently have no idea even what science is, let alone understand its complexity.
People once knew that scientists work with very sophisticated topics that are typically far beyond the reach of those without scientific training. But that understanding has given way to simplistic and very erroneous explanations that too many are happy to repeat ad infinitum. “Climate Change” is perhaps the most egregious example. While our climate is always changing for perfectly natural reasons, political propagandists want everyone to believe that it is all due to the burning of fossil fuels. That is total nonsense, dangerous nonsense.
Let me nominate Microsoft founder Bill Gates as a great example of a mad ‘wanna-be’ scientist, who has too much money and too little education to address real scientific issues. He is a very skillful computer programmer and an astute businessman who enjoyed great success. But that ability hardly translates to other professions from science to baseball to plumbing.
As Clint Eastwood once said with a sneer, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.”
Gates wants to solve the ‘climate crisis,” by dumping millions of tons of chalk into the stratosphere to reflect enough sunlight to cool the Earth. Never mind that there is no legitimate climate crisis of any kind. That is all imaginary. But what of his idea? Would it work? Would it be safe? What evidence do we have?
Usually, those who propose the preposterous are careful enough to avoid suggestions where we have ample evidence of what will happen. Gates wants to mimic what occurs when a large volcanic eruption sends vast amounts of dust into the relatively stable stratosphere, where it will remain for years. Lesser volcanic eruptions like Mt. St. Helens in 1980 sent about 2.5 cubic kilometers of ash into the atmosphere, where it quickly fell or washed out, because little got into the stratosphere. It did not cause noticeable cooling of the global atmosphere.
Larger volcanic eruptions, like Mt. Pinatubo and El Chichon, did manage to dump significant quantities of ash into the stratosphere and probably did cool the planet slightly. However, the largest volcanic eruption in human history of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia in 1815 sent 100 cubic kilometers of debris airborne, with considerable ash reaching the stratosphere. It led to the ‘Year without a Summer’ in 1816. With killing frost and snow in the middle of the summer, crops failed in New England and elsewhere, resulting in the greatest famine of the 19th century.
Happily, even climate alarmists are alarmed with the Gates plan, because it could have serious unintended consequences from destroying the ozone layer to altering ocean currents. They fail to mention the harmful effects of cooler temperatures and less sunlight on agricultural production. That undercuts their contention that greenhouse warming is dangerous. Warmth and sunlight are fundamental to agriculture. So is carbon dioxide.
Sending large payloads into the stratosphere is fraught with danger. I know, because I have done so. With enormous helium-filled balloons, we lofted several hundred-pound payloads to 140,000 feet to study galactic cosmic rays. The balloons were large enough to be seen from the ground, leading airline pilots to report “a balloon off my wingtip at 40,000 feet.” Of course, the balloon was 100,000 feet above them, but it had to rise through aircraft altitudes.
While we took every precaution to keep air traffic safe, everyone was still nervous. Occasionally, a balloon would get away and sink into aircraft altitudes. One balloon even floated over the Soviet Union and was shot down. A fellow graduate student had to go to Moscow to get his thesis experiment back! We nearly had one huge experiment drop on Dallas, Texas. But instead, it floated down on a nearby farm, merely destroying crops. We were lucky.
One or few stratospheric balloon experiments are probably worth the risks for the knowledge gained, but using thousands of them to deliberately pollute the stratosphere is total lunacy.
President Joe Biden
Geriatric Joe Biden and the Biden-Harris administration cannot be accused of having the innate intelligence of Bill Gates, but they do suffer from the same delusion that they understand climate science, and we have to do something immediately to prevent a climate catastrophe.
Oh really? Where is the evidence?
Without solid empirical evidence, wild theories are not even close to science. Joe likes to publicly claim that all his policies “follow the science,” as he turns to his handlers and snickers.
Wild policies inevitably follow wild theories. Do not bother arguing with them, because they stopped listening long ago. Coming in April for Lenin’s birthday and Earth Day will be ever more strident warnings that we have to do more to save the planet, followed by the declaration of a “Climate Emergency” and numerous new Executive Orders to eliminate the internal combustion automobile engine and fossil-fueled power plants. Geriatric Joe and Scientist Joe intend to be Dictator Joe.
Mad scientists can usually do the elementary math to avoid proposing what does not compute. But not Joe. He thinks he can print enough money to pay for the “Green New Deal,” with the consequence of bankrupting America. He thinks that intermittent renewable energy can replace reliable energy, with the consequence of destroying the electric grid. He thinks he can improve the weather by limiting carbon emissions, with the consequence of reducing our ability to feed the world’s population. And he thinks he can corrupt science and scientists for political purposes, with the consequence of destroying the miracle that created and sustains the modern world.
The real disaster that Biden-Harris are trying to avoid is having no crisis to move their agenda forward. If COVID wanes and people realize that carbon dioxide is beneficial, Biden-Harris will no longer have an excuse for dictatorial behavior. That is the real disaster they want to avoid.
Dr. Anthony Fauci
No one can talk about the COVID pandemic without bringing up the great epidemiologist Anthony Fauci. At least Fauci thinks Fauci is great. Unlike Gates and Biden, he is a real scientist who clearly gets some things right. That is a great improvement over the ‘wanna-bees.’ But he is still one of the mad scientists because he is so taken with himself that he misses a lot.
Fauci eventually realized that the pandemic was getting out of hand and did realize that “140,000 Americans” might die. But he failed to realize that a death rate that was doubling every few days could go much higher, even with strict lock-downs. Strict lock-downs lessen the immediate consequences of an epidemic by “flattening the curve.”
The problem is that they extend out the epidemic, such that many still die. Of course, the economic damage of a shutdown increases rapidly with the length of the shutdown. The psychological damage from isolation and job loss cause substantial harm too. But the great Fauci was not great enough to think beyond centuries-old techniques like quarantines and modern methods like vaccines that take a long time to implement.
Physicians with a little more sophistication recognized that there were a number of promising ways to treat COVID patients and lessen death rates, using hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, monoclonal antibodies, and other therapies. They were not cures, but where used, they did lessen the death rate significantly until effective vaccines became available.
Fauci also appears to have missed the extraordinary difference between what the Chinese called the “Wuhan Flu” and real influenza. Influenza causes many deaths across all age groups, while almost all COVID deaths occur in those over age 60 and especially those with existing health problems like diabetes. Hence, only the elderly needed to be isolated. Most others should have been allowed to go about their lives because their only risk from COVID was inconvenience.
Real scientists bear some of the blame for failing to oppose mad scientists promoting nonsense.
Gordon J. Fulks lives in Corbett and can be reached at email@example.com. He holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago’s Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research.