For those left behind, trauma
Climate supporters everywhere have been in an emotional purgatory since news first broke of the disappearance of our scientists. Today, a planet’s vigil for eight very special, very scared people enters its critical third blog post—but investigators fear the agony has just begun.
“An early breakthrough is unlikely,” admitted Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin on talkback radio this morning.
Meanwhile, colleagues and grad students at the universities where the eight neurotics worked are being offered free hysteria counseling.
At a media conference today Senior Detective Donald Jenner of the AFP’s Missing Scientist Unit described the emotional and behavioral toll this crisis is taking on the climate-academic population.
“Thousands of climate scientists, [climate] ethicists and [climate] psychologists will be wetting their beds again tonight—not only in Australia, but wherever there’s a large climate-hyphenated community. All their kids can do is give them an extra-big hug when they get home from work today.”
“At the risk of cliché, these [tragic] situations do bring the community closer,” Det. Jenner continued. “Friends and family of climatologists tell us they’re checking their loved ones’ blogs for the first time in years. Speaking as a parent myself—whilst I don’t have [a climate scientist] in the family—nothing could be worse than looking back and wishing you’d refreshed your browser sooner.”
A peer in fear speaks up
Before he fled to England, Stefan Lewandowsky was in close contact with a number of the desaparecidos, and considered it a “privilege” to call himself “a peer in fear.”
The psychology professor spoke to us in a wide-ranging interview, interrupted only by the continual need to look behind his back. He didn’t mean to be rude, he explained, but enemies could be closing in at any time from any compass direction.
(Lewandowsky admits his obsessive vigilance can make social life awkward, but is convinced it’s paid off. “I’ve never been raped,” he boasts, “by surprise.”)
“There was serious talk at one point of my becoming the ninth Scared Scientist,” he recalls.
“In the end we agreed cognitive scientists aren’t [actually scientists], thank Christ. Otherwise I’d probably be there right now, by [my frightened friends’] side… huddled in a gibbering mess in the corner of some godforsaken shipping container.”
Lewandowsky adds that he “get[s] seasick at the drop of a hat.”
The climate cognician—best known for overturning decades of rational risk analysis [RRA] with his discovery of Lewandowsky’s Uncertainty Principle—says he yearns for specific information, no matter how grisly, on the fate that’s befallen his phobic friends.
“It’s the not knowing that increases the risk the most,” he explains, just in case we were still laboring under the traditional view of uncertainty as a sort of friend or even a neutral, epiphenomenal bystander. (It isn’t, and we weren’t.)
Borrowing from the climate-science world a technique known as catastrophizing—which is based on the insight that you should always jump uncritically to the worst conclusion imaginable—Lewandowsky has deduced that the Scared Scientists are in the clutches of a science-trafficking ring.
Prognosis for the Aussie Eight?
It’s the pits!
The eight academics’ odyssey of pain began the moment they were corralled aboard a freight liner at taser-point, he says.
“On the long voyage to Lagos, Havana or Abu Dhabi, we have to presume the science smugglers are subjecting their emotionally-retarded cargo to acts of illegitimate insertion and seepage so sadistic, I haven’t even had time to write a paper on them.
“Fast forward 2-3 weeks and it’s pay day for the Professor-peddling perverts. Their victims—whose immutable expressions of terror got boring a few hundred nautical miles ago—are now sold to the debating pits for one final degradation.”
Everyone in the global warming movement has heard whispers of these amphitheatres of ritual intellectual humiliation.
Climate debating was listed as a blood sport by the United Nations almost 20 years ago, and is now against the law in every country but North Korea (where there is little cultural appetite for debate anyway). Inevitably, of course, this has merely had the unforeseeable effect of driving the spectacle underground—goes the rumor—where ghoulish throngs of wealthy libertarians see human rights as just another book of government regulations to be circumvented by entrepreneurial ingeniousness.
In the black-market flesh bazaars of the red-light Floating World district, they say a mob of oilmen and mining executives will pay good money to see climate academics vivisected on the blood-caked sands of false balance. (Rhetorically speaking of course.)
In the standard version of the horror story, the mainstream scientist is separated from her peers and thrown into an intellectually hostile room, where she has to defend herself without recourse to superior numbers, credentialist arguments, the findings of the IPCC and other political committees, promotional literature for Munich Re, or the position statements of any major scholarly body of national or international standing. The facts are never given a fighting chance!
What happens in the pure science-on-science mêlée that follows, law-abiding citizens like us can only imagine with a shudder.
Bets are placed on how long the suffering drags on.
“They consider it a brava corrida—a good fight,” says Lewandowsky, “if the [mainstream] scientist lasts six minutes. The skeptical champion will always be the celebrity, but even the fallen can earn a quantum of glory—of sorts—if he or she defies the inevitable with sufficient courage and dignity.
“Not that it’s much of a consolation to the [scientists’] families,” he reflects.
But hang on, aren’t these stories discounted as urban apocrypha?
“Ha!,” snorts Lewandowsky. “Not in serious, credible circles they’re not. You appear to forget the fundamentally self-sealing [SS] nature of Big Skepticism. It goes without saying that they don’t want you to think the pits are real. This is a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise they’re running!
“But have you stopped to ask why the underground climate-debating industry would secretly spend untold millions on counterpropaganda and lawyers’ fees just to fend off accusations of existing?
“If they didn’t exist, why bother?
“And without existing, how could they afford to cover up their reality so assiduously?
“No offense, but you really need to stop believing everything people tell you,” he chides us.