Global Warming, Peak Oil, and HIV=AIDS Denialism

I recently came across this George Will column pointing out how in the 1970s, there was an emerging scientific consensus on the inevitability of “global cooling.”

Of course, we all know that today it is “global warming” that it supposed to be the big ecological issue.  Many deniers of the global warming hypothesis are considered to be shills for the petroleum industry, but Alexander Cockburn has argued that some from the “global warming alarmist” crowd can be accused of being similar shills for the nuclear industry.

The other big doomsday scenario currently being promoted is Peak Oil. At the North American Secessionist Conference in 2008, I heard Sebastian Ronin give a comprehensive and convincing overview of the case for the theory of Peak Oil. Yet there are serious arguments for the other side as well.

Another interesting scientific controversy of this type is the HIV=AIDS denial movement. The most important figure in this movement is probably Dr. Peter Duesberg. According to Duesberg and others of this camp, AIDS is caused not by HIV, but by malnutrition, drug abuse, congenital problems like heart disease and hemophilia or, in some cases, anti-AIDS drugs themselves. There does seem to be some evidence to support this theory, like the case of Lindsay Nagel. The problem is that for every case that seems to detract from HIV=AIDS orthodoxy, there are others that seem to confirm the orthodox position, like that of Christine Maggiore

So what’s the real story with all of these different controversies? I have no idea, and I have no relevant credentials, experience, or training in fields that would allow me to make an educated guess about the “truth” on these questions. What do readers think?

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6 replies »

  1. It has been well-documented that global warming hysteria is being promoted by various corporations, who (believe it or not) stand to profit favorably from the various government solutions. (i.e. enron as a major backer of the Kyoto protocol).

  2. My take/speculation/handing out of soap:

    Global warming:
    * Global warmning is real and emperically proven to occur.
    * That global warming has consequences, climactic and economical, and further derived, is a fact, though it is difficult to predict them due to the complexity of the earth system.
    * More to the point, the human hand in affecting climate et al is both theoretically sound and emperically demonstrable. If it is totally responsible for the warming we are witnessing (unlikely) or merely mostly responsible (likely) is beside the point.

    The problem with global warming is that its political proponents largely wants to use it as another leverage for centralizing power and imposing more taxes on society, while it’s denialists see this tactic and instead drive into the opposed ditch of not only rejecting taxation as an environmental measure and goes to deny the scientific basis as well.

    Of course, due to the denialism of the “right” crowd, the “left” crowd pro-taxation and pro-centralization is winning.

    Peak Oil:

    * It is true that hydrocarbons is a deletable resource.
    * It is true that we are seeing the carbon-based energy horizon, at least for oil and gas. Coal reserved are larger, but exactly how large is likewise uncertain.
    * It is most likely true that we are on the peak of producting in these years.

    My objection to the peak oil crowd is that

    1) they are obsessed with fitting production numbers into a bell curve.

    2) the obnoxious everpresent extremistic (both in rhetoric and political wishes) and apocalyptic fellow travelers, also found in the AGW crowd. There seems to be a major overlap between peak oilers and agw’ers.

    * The hiv=aids/aids denialism thing.

    I’m not very knowledgeable about biochemistry and virology, but I do consider the aids denialism crowd to be medium-to-severely cranky. With such a serious disease making a major impact on an infected human body, it’s unavoidable that many will subbumb when in treatment, because of the degraded condition of their bodies and immune systems (which seems to be a centerpoint of the first article linked).

    In general, I’m saddened that the libertarian / anarchist crowd seems more susceptible to conspiracy theories; i guess it’s because of the more distrust of government and authority.

    This doesn’t mean that you can’t ask tough and/or silly (depending on the eyes that see, mind) questions once in a while, but when a straight answer is given, you should go by it if you respect the truth, and stick with it until that or other aspects of what it is you are scrutinizing can be brought forward.

    I’m thus not saying that there cannot be poked holes in global warming theory, peak oil and aids epidemology, but it’s best to leave it to those more qualified expose those holes. Laymen playing scientific experts end up making a fool of themselves and discrediting the movement(s) they otherwise are part of.

  3. Another point that occurs to me is that the decision to focus so much energy on the global-warming issue is a big mistake for the environmentalists to make, as if it were proved to be a load of hype, the movement will be utterly discredited.

  4. Climate change is probably the greatest canard dreamed up by the ruling elite. It is a complex system with a near infinite number of variables, thus guaranteeing at least some percentage of scientists on your side (which you can increase by being intentionally vague or misleading), it is beyond the power of humans to control yet the fear mongering leads to ‘someone has to do something’ hysteria, that someone being government and that something being increased control over our lives.

    1. There is no scientific consensus on long-term or catastrophic global warming
    2. Even if there was such a consensus, there is no indication that the change would have a major net negative impact to humans (some would suffer, others would benefit)
    3. Even if there were major negative consequences to global warming, government is inefficient, corrupt, and impotent – they can’t keep drugs out of prison – and so is the last agency you’d want in charge of climate change control.

    Orwell had it partly right – waging an eternal war is a great way to keep power, but even better is to wage that war against an imaginary foe (the Climate Change bogeyman).

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