Monday, December 28, 2009

Blindly led by "experts"

Here's another example of people who should know better being blindly led by so-called experts. (The article in the Register links to a piece in Playboy). In this case, the Bush administration, at the highest level, believing some cock and bull story about details of terrorist attacks being broadcast in code over Al Jazeera. The con artist involved, Dennis Montgomery, was working closely with the Science and Technology unit of the CIA. Surely, one would think, these are people who would insist on proof that there is such a technology, or that it works. But no, they wanted to believe, or they wanted to prove they were being super-cautious, or something, so they sold Montgomery's nonsense to Dick Cheney and others. It took a while for actual intelligence officials to establish that the whole story made no sense: among other things, terrorist operatives would need de-coding devices, there would be no logistical advantage in proceeding this way, etc.

Of course I'm reminded of global warming. There have been many extremes of cold and warmth on earth. No one thinks any of them have ever been caused by human action, except possibly a warming trend in the twentieth century. In order to believe man-made CO2 has caused this particular trend, one must believe that there is a closed energy system, that this one forcing will over-ride any other forcing, including some that might cause cooling, etc. Surely some skepticism would be called for, and in the meantime, detailed evidence would be demanded before drawing conclusions. But no. Gullibility ruled.

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