The Reverse Cassandra Effect

A reader with rangiferine yet canine name of Rudolf Harrier observes:

“But at the same time that science has degraded itself, respect for science has only increased…”

The economist Julian Simon coined the phrase “the Reverse Cassandra Effect” to describe the phenomenon of when an oracular prediction, when proved false, increased rather than decreased the prestige and popularity of the oracle.

Cassandra in myth was blessed the power to predict the future truly, and cursed that no one would believe her.

The Reverse Cassandra Effect is when an alarmist is apparently cursed to have no predictions come true, but everyone believes him, and belief in him grows the more outrageously false the predictions turn out to be.

Specifically, Paul Ehrlich, author of THE POPULATION BOMB, a modern popularizer of the 1790-era errors of Malthus, predicted in the late 1960s that India would surely suffer mass starvation due to so called over-population by 1980, unless immediate action were taken.

The immediate action, of course, as it always is, was rejection of the age-old Christian teaching on the immorality of contraception (something all Christian denominations taught until the 1930s) and the control and curtailment of industry and agriculture under a socialist scheme of rationing, or somesuch.

Such predictions, many men have noted, nearly always fall into the ten to fifteen year range, since a decade is near enough to be threatening, but far enough away to seem plausible.

In fact, India experienced historic economic growth in the 1980s.

Simon later famously wagered Ehrlich, and both men agreed to the terms: if indeed population growth made resources dwindle, then the price of any good as it became more scarce would predictably go up, not down. Prices go gown, in general, when demand shrinks or availability grows, or both. So they agreed on ten metals, and wagered $1,000 on the price change in ten years.

Julian Simon won the bet, which is why one never hears about him in the popular press, salons, or academia.

Overpopulation is an exploded theory from the Eighteenth Century that was popularized in the mid-Twentieth Century by my clan, science fiction writers, once we were done convincing the gullible that UFOs were flying saucers from other planets.

Please note that in this case overpopulation alarmists, ecology disaster alarmist, and those predicting an new ice age in ten years brought on by nuclear winter or by industrial pollution always mantle and mask their mystic visions of the twilight of the gods in scientific and pseudo scientific terms.

Now that the fad of frightening the unwary with tales of global cooling has passed, and the fad of tales of global warming fades, the new fad it to warn of a lack of climate stasis: at some point within the next ten years, the globe will suffer disaster and catastrophe unless the teachings of the Christians and the liberties of English-speaking democracies are immediately repudiated and curtailed.

Please note, that as with all the other population bombs, ozone holes, and silent springs we somehow managed to survive — perhaps because nothing even remotely noticeable ever happened — the mystic visions are expressed by persons who are said to be scientists, who produce, at taxpayer’s expense, floods and deluges of data and studies and reams of material, all freely available on the internet, but who cannot predict the weather was well as an experienced farmer stepping out of the barn to sniff the wind, peer at the clouds, and hear the woodland creatures rustle.

Meteorology is a science, that is, using the scientific method to study the weather. Climate Science is a political faction, that is, using the trappings of science to promote political alarmism. Computer models never checked against real world data without the use of any baseline control is not science. As well ask a gypsy at a fair to tell your fortune with playing cards.