As a child growing up, I often did stupid things and looked for ways out of my messes. I contrived exotic lies, even thought about injuring myself to gain sympathy. I never did the self-abuse angle, but more importantly, I was never a good liar. As an adult, I learned that truth is always the best thing, as lying leads to more lying and even bigger messes.
Wikipedia lies about just about everything, but is considered a trusted source. I often consult it, as there are many matters where there is no point in lying, as with Taylor Swift’s birthday (12/13/89) or the dates of Woodstock (August 15-18, 1969). But note that there is far more to Taylor Swift, whom I suspect was trained her whole life to be famous and does not (or know how to) write her own music, or with Woodstock, an event organized to inculcate a whole generation in the culture of rock music and drugs, painting opposition to the Vietnam War as drug-addled hippies. Wikipedia can only tell us so much, and then either goes silent, or lies.
Sources like Wikipedia (or Snopes) seem to be considered essential in propaganda circles, as most people do not know how to think properly or do research. Intelligence wants neither, no thinking allowed, certainly no research. So it offers itself as a quick and easy answer to just about every question. Quick and easy is the key. It only takes a minute to consult Wikipedia, and since it is presented as a place where “experts” from every field are welcome to contribute, the answer garnered is considered accurate, and final. (When I see the word “expert”, my skin crawls.)
That’s the thing about lying. Any damned fool, like me in my youth, can try, but to do it and do it right takes strategy. It is a confidence game, the origin of the phrase “con artists”. In much of my work, say with Columbine or John Denver’s death, I have used Wikipedia as my main source. For one, I know it is lying, and for another, if often contains contradictions (a good tool to use in truth seeking) and employs spook markers (8, 11, 33 and others not familiar to me) to give authority to lies. Those aspects are useful in any research, as they serve as red flags, and can lead to a better understanding of what is not being told … the truth. It is a rare commodity. Lies and lying liars are more the norm.
Lying is not for fools, and when done professionally usually manages to fool most of the people most of the time. Wikipedia is a source of professional lies, well told and made to stick.
Yesterday morning, writing about glaciers below, I needed the dates of a time period known as the “Medieval Warm Period. I consulted Wikipedia even knowing the source would not be truthful about its extent and impact. At least, I thought, it would get the dates right. Here is what I found:
Read the words if you want – they merely reassert the claim by Climate Alarmists that the Medieval Warm Period (and Little Ice Age for that matter) were localized events of not much importance. That’s a lie, but not the one that caught my eye. Look at the graph on the right. Does it look familiar? It should. It is Michael Mann’s long-discredited hockey stick! Part of Mann’s assignment was to lie about the MWP and Little Ice Age, as he was to claim that we are in a period of unprecedented and dangerous global warming. If indeed there was a MWP, a period much warmer than today, then would he not be automatically discredited?
Mann’s hockey stick was based on a study of tree rings, a science known as dendrochronology. It is a useful pastime pursued by serious scientists. When studying past times before instrumentation to measure temperatures, scientists look for what is known as “proxies,” or other indicators of past events and temperatures. Mann used tree rings up until about 1900 to put his shtick together, and then switched to instruments, as tree rings were showing a decline in temperature from that point on. Mann chucked them.** When another scientist, Keith Briffa, doing the same work, came up with different post-1900 results, Mann did what was referred to in the Climategate emails as “Mike’s Nature Trick,” hiding the decline in temperature from 1900 forward that would have obliterated his premise, unprecedented warming.
The question is, do tree rings send a reliable signal about past temperatures? No, they do not. There are other, better, tools. Tree rings do have uses and do signal information, temperature part of it. But they also send a lot of what is called “noise,” or information that has to be sorted out and set aside. How to decide what is noise, what is useful, can be subjective. From a statistical standpoint, they have tools that tease my disregard for the field of statistics as a whole, but that’s just me. I sat through three semesters of the subject in college, and found a lot of good stuff by smart people going on. Just not enough to trust.
Another proxy that came into focus around the time of Mann’s hockey stick are called “GISP”, or the Greenland Ice Sheet Project, done twice now, the second project known as GISP2. This is fascinating science, where ice cores are extracted from the depths of Greenland, various locations.. The resulting samples are a 10,000 year source of data, not just on temperature, but also atmospheric CO2 and other gases trapped within air pockets. The means by which (real) researchers measure past temperatures is by use of oxygen isotopes, the most useful 18 O, which can be found today in certain areas at certain temperatures. By this means, scientists are able to peg past temperature trends. Below is the past 10,000 years in temperature, according to GISP2:
The green bars highlight various warm periods, Minoan, Roman, Mann’s Missing Medieval, and Modern. The Medieval Warm Period is restored, along with the Little Ice Age, and that Mann’s bogus hockey stick is relegated to the trash bin. Keep in mind that GISP2 is not a sole information source to the exclusion of others, but is corroborated by other historical sources. We know the Vikings farmed Greenland during the MWP and that Romans grew tropical fruits in northern England during the Roman Warm Period. We know that the Vikings had to abandon their Greenland farms during the LIA, and that Iceland lost a third of its population during that time.
I do not know if Mann had access to GISP2 in 1998 when he was dissembling via the hockey stick. I suspect he did, but since it contradicted his propaganda objective, current dangerous and unprecedented warming, I assume he would have ignored it. I would also assume he would dispute the validity of GISP2 in favor of his tree rings, a far less reliable signal. Science, real science, and hockey sticks do not travel well together.
**Also note, had Mann continued with tree rings, the whole of his past climate history would be cast in a bad light. If tree rings are at odds with mechanical temperatures in the 20th century, are they dependable for past ages too?
***CO2 measurements produced by GISP2 show that I need to think more and research more … data differs and is even contradictory. There goes tomorrow. Something is very wrong. I have never seen a graph of temperature and CO2 that aligns like that of this post by Will Eschenbach. Quite the opposite. Just when I think I have a grip … a curve ball. More to write, more to learn. I am deeply skeptical of Eschenbach at this point, but open of mind.
8 thoughts on “Wikipedia and the art of lying”
That gisp chart is very persuasive.. I may post it to fb, though my posts like that rarely get “engagement.”
Devil’s advocate.. how do we “know” about those historical instances you cite? What’s the evidence? Some of the history revisionists have me pretty persuaded that our past is very misrepresented, at the least.. Jef DeMolder at Abyss of Time is very compelling, imo, though his alternative theories are pretty wild. Stolenhistory.net has more of a range of writers, though I haven’t studied it much.
Part of the problem that I have long encountered regarding posting stuff on FB – many if not most people do not know how to interpret graphs. It is Greek to them.
There is an interesting article by Will Eschenbach on WATTSUPWITHTHAT regarding ice cores. He found almost perfect correlation between ice core data and that data gathered by Mauna Loa concerning CO2. That’s reassuring to me that the ice core data is good data. Climate Alarmists are wont to praise it but cannot do much to discredit it.
Regarding how do we know what we know? We don’t know what we know or don’t know, of course, so the key is to stop doubting at some point before arriving at “everything is fake.” We do have evidence beyond ice cores that there was a Medieval Warm Period, and the way that ice cores coincide with periods of advanced civilizations is eerie. There is also this to consider: Alarmists want the ice core data, which in Antarctica goes back hundreds of thousands of years, to go away.
But I accept your skepticism as necessary and natural. Consider, though, that before the Global Warming psyop, there was no need to discredit the science behind ice cores, and no reason to doubt that in the Holocene we had periods of warmth and advancement of civilization.
I was really referring to the evidence about the Romans, Vikings, etc that you bring in to support the ice core data. So many alternative researchers have raised good questions about the standard timeline. John le Bon for one argues that there’s no original source material beyond a few hundred years. He disputes carbon dating, and so on.
Now if indeed the ice core data correlates well with standard history, that would be mutually supporting for each of them. Assuming the ice core scientists were just focused on their geologic/ atmospheric data, and indifferent to the “known” historical record.
I tend to accept the ice core data, more or less, as possibly being disinterested “real science” – since it appears it isn’t part of a promoted narrative. It’s useful to climate skeptic narratives, some of whom may be controlled opposition, but that doesn’t mean it’s fabricated – the skeptics may actually have the better case, and so don’t need to be given phony science. They can just be ignored by the mass media.
I did understand your complaint. Regarding LeBon, I too have little faith in carbon dating. Geologists present us with a well constructed history of the planet going back to the beginning, with eras like Carboniferous, all based on the assumption of slow and gradual. I cannot get Velikovski out of my head, major cometary events that have upended everything. This would play hell with GISP2. We have had cometary events every 300 years or so, according to dendrochronologist Bailley. Immanuel was ridiculed to the sidelines, suspiciously so, as if he was unearthing forbidden knowledge.
Is all of history a fake scenario? Anything is possible. Howdy Mikowski offers up interesting information, but I have trouble with a scholar whose works are so littered with typos, like my posts. Also one who goes by “Howdy” instead of “Howard.” (I am perpetually correcting my own typos, as my eyes just don’t see them and I do not have an editor. If I did have an editor, I would quickly fire that person anyway, my anti-authoritarian nature.)
I cannot some to settle on “everything is fake” so easily however. Everything is not real, though.
Nor would I subscribe to “everything is fake.” But what does the tangible evidence actually support? I can say that, after reading Mathis and absorbing some of his method for deconstructing official narratives, you can pick any topic and read a “nonfiction” book about it, and you’ll find it’s part of the matrix. Science, medicine, finance, history – there appear to be elements of truth, but clearly much that is distorted if not wholly fabricated.
Quiet around here today! I guess people are out enjoying the real world.
This article talks about Extinction Rebellion, the comically named controlled op climate activists.. controlled op from the “left.” I guess it makes the government look oh so reasonable that they are neither “deniers” nor “radicals.”
Most interesting part is the comments, where NC gets a little more suspicious and skeptical than usual, even debates how real or phony the group is.
Off topic – NC is following the banking crisis and has good commentary.. but they assume slightly higher than “dummy” financial knowledge. I’ll take their word that raising the interest rate tanks the value of long term bonds and securities, but what is the mechanism? I mean I sort of understand with past purchases – you’re locked in at an old rate and can do better now? But they act as if new long term purchases are also disfavored. Is that because we’re still in progress on raising the rate, so people don’t want to commit to long term until it’s reached a plateau?
Their guru Hudson is predicting much worse than a recession, as the “overhead” on the economy can’t be pushed off forever, he says..
Forgot the link –
Thank you. Longstanding policy on my part, never to participate in comment threads longer than twenty or so. They are not being read, and anyway if they are, it is leaf blower material, scattered all about. What you offer here is of interest, and I thank you for your contributions.