By Patrick Michael Gunkel (Princeton, NJ). Publication of deliberately false climate change data literally ought — i.e., MUST — be treated, not as a peccadillo, but as a Crime Against Humanity. My remark here is not an expression of an emotion, but of an intellectual and humanitarian reaction of a scientist to falsification of data that could be as bad in its effect as long-term global warming itself, by permitting the latter to thrive, and acquire an egregious and panhumanly disastrous momentum.
“One does not play games, or take chances, when essentially the whole of civilization and humanity MAY be in peril.”
As for the falsifiers of data, or criminal social parasites, let me switch from the second to the first of my scientific careers, long ago at M.I.T., where I was — a then VERY rare! — theorist in neuroscience, trying to make sense of the human brain as a whole and all the astonishing behavior and abilities it gives rise to. A SIDE interest of mine, then and later, was the queer and baffling, and decidedly chilling, phenomenon of the psychopath, a.k.a. sociopath. The essential trait of such people is that have little or no conscience, and yet they can be at the same time profoundly convincing to the layman — i.e., virtually all of us.The incidence of these curious and horrific people in the body of the whole of humanity is estimated to be of the order of 1/200. This is misleading, however, because the pathology is a matter of degree, or properly illustrated by an intensity-frequency curve. To put it simply, a psychopath can and does lie without a blink, either external or internal. And often does so for profit or simply out of total indifference to the harm he works upon the innocent and the virtuous. I have little doubt that the purveyors of purposefully, and dangerously, falsified Global Warming data ARE in many instances psychopaths, whose falsifications tend to put ALL of us at risk. Even heads of great corporations can be, in various ways and degrees, psychopathic. (Psychopathy probably had some partly useful — personal OR social — function in the long-ago past of Homo sapiens. It is certainly common enough in our politicians nowadays!)
Two decades ago I was neutral, but skeptical, about global warming. Later I realized that we simply could not tolerate the risks it potentially posed.
One does not play games, or take chances, when essentially the whole of civilization and humanity MAY be in peril. None of us can escape from the need for such caution, and where even the very survival of our species over Eternity may just be confronted with the possibility of extinction through carelessness or ignorance, or a shallow and selfish morality, or ideology or skepticism, or a universal involvement in petty and personal disputes between men fighting in diapers. (Phenomena we have seen often enough in World Wars and in Wars Ancient, but no less pathetic and mindless.) In short, All of the Future hangs by a single tenuous thread from each and ever Present.