What Does Performative Fear Blubbering In Science Mean?

What Does Performative Fear Blubbering In Science Mean?

There is a point to today’s post. It is not a momentous or especially arresting point, but it’s still worth making. Here, I make the point about science, but it could equally well apply to many areas. But I beg you will indulge me by reading an anecdote or two first.

So. Let’s do some stereotyping! Paste your peppers on this picture and tell me all about the woman portrayed. Go:

What did you come up with? Was it anything like this? (Which, you’ll have to believe me, I did before reading any particularities about her, though I had some clue.)

That look. That radioactive short blue hair, those sharp attack-glasses, that harsh rigid paint job on her face. Fat. Aggressive. Probably announces her pronouns. Says “ackshually”. Does not like men. Maybe “gender fluid”. Thinks herself about twice as intelligent as she is. Believes all required propaganda. Woke in every way.

Now stereotypes are very often true. Which means they are sometimes false. Which means that your, and my, little foray into stereotyping could have got it wrong. Let’s see how close we were.

Our female was plucked from a Guardian article—with a perfectly descriptive headline (and which gave me an identity clue)—“We asked 380 top climate scientists what they felt about the future…They are terrified, but determined to keep fighting. Here’s what they said.”

Felt. Terrified.

Ah. So we’re discussing emotion here, and not science. Which is fine. Emotions, feelings and feelings about feelings, and what we feel about all that, are proper subjects of discussion as any other. As long as we don’t confuse those feelings for science.

Which, alas, we too often do.

Our female is one Ruth Cerezo-Mota, a climate scientist. Ruth says “Sometimes it is almost impossible not to feel hopeless and broken”. She said that after a meeting of fellow worriers, “I got a depression. It was a very dark point in my life. I was unable to do anything and was just sort of surviving.”

We are glad to see she gathered enough strength to visit the chemists for her hair dye.

Cerezo-Mota discovered that in the Yucatan it can become hot, and indeed did so once. She said, “Last summer, we had around 47C maximum. The worst part is that, even at night, it’s 38C, which is higher than your body temperature. It doesn’t give a minute of the day for your body to try to recover.”

I guess everybody must have died, not having had a chance to recover. Sad.

That’s our first anecdote. The paper goes on to discover that of the climate scientists they surveyed most of them believed the models on which their livelihood depends. Which shows spirit. One does wonder if they would tie their paychecks to their predictions.

Anecdote two:

…From experts in the atmosphere and oceans, energy and agriculture, economics and politics, the mood of almost all those the Guardian heard from was grim. And the future many painted was harrowing: famines, mass migration, conflict. “I find it infuriating, distressing, overwhelming,” said one expert, who chose not to be named. “I’m relieved that I do not have children, knowing what the future holds,” said another.

Interesting they admit mass migration will cause conflict when the migration is (somehow) caused by “climate change”, but not when it is caused by the open arms of rulers.

Their overwhelming feelings were fear and frustration. “I expect a semi-dystopian future with substantial pain and suffering for the people of the global south,” said a South African scientist who chose not to be named. “The world’s response to date is reprehensible – we live in an age of fools.”

Ah. So there’s the excuse for migration. Yet there is no explanation why it won’t get hot in the global north, too. Does the equator block “climate change”?

Anecdote three:

Camille Parmesan, at the CNRS ecology centre in France, was on the point of giving up 15 years ago. “I had devoted my research life to [climate science] and it had not made a damn bit of difference,” she said. “I started feeling [like], well, I love singing, maybe I’ll become a nightclub singer.”

Anecdote four:

“It is the biggest threat humanity has faced, with the potential to wreck our social fabric and way of life. It has the potential to kill millions, if not billions, through starvation, war over resources, displacement,” said James Renwick, at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. “None of us will be unaffected by the devastation.”

Anecdote five:

“I am scared mightily – I don’t see how we are able to get out of this mess,” said Tim Benton, an expert on food security and food systems at the Chatham House thinktank. He said the cost of protecting people and recovering from climate disasters will be huge, with yet more discord and delay over who pays the bills. Numerous experts were worried over food production: “We’ve barely started to see the impacts,” said one.

He’s right. We haven’t seen them. Even though they have been excessively and incessantly predicted.

Finally my point. All this is bullshit. It is pure posturing. It is blubbering for effect. None of these scientists believes what she is saying, not really. Their fears are exaggerated because it is expected that they should be frightened silly—after all, they keep predicting the end of the known world—so they profess to be frightened silly. But still find the strength to buy their radioactive hair dye.

This is not the behavior of the truly haunted.

It is effeminate. It is feminized. It is an indication that scientists, in this area anyway, are if not already predominately female, then heading that way. It is a characteristic of women, on average, being the weaker sex, to use emotions performatively to accomplish their goals. As they do here.

Now you’ll have to believe me on this, as I am not here taking any pains to prove my thesis, but it means that climate science is losing prestige. I do not say it has lost it: I say is is losing it. Loss of prestige comes with the loss of men. Because men seek prestige. On average.

This doesn’t mean the field isn’t pumping out record levels of papers, and that the money isn’t flowing in. It means that it’s all not taken as seriously as it once was. Which we do see for many areas of science.

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8 Comments

  1. Leonard

    Welfare queens all. They sound like the junkies on the street corner begging/demanding a few dollars.

  2. Carlos Julio Casanova Guerra

    “Global South”. I am a Venezuelan and I live in Chile, the “Global South” only exists in the heads of imbeciles like this one. Let me tell you about my feelings: I read patronazing garbage like this and feel like going to the UFC octagone… Maybe, two or three well thrown would put their brains in their proper place inside their heads. But in the octagone, a sanctioned fight, I’m not advocating violence….

  3. Cary D Cotterman

    In recognition of these poor women’s terror and depression I’m going to burn a stack of old tires in my back yard this afternoon.

  4. My gut reaction to the picture pegged her as one of those women who are so busy busy busy running off to meetings with Very Important People that almost no one notices that she does nothing but get in the way.

    re: climate science

    When cults meet reality some adherents drop out, some double down on the beliefs required for membership -leading to Jonestown, civil war, and/or the death of the culture the cult feeds off. We’re seeing all of those in progress now.

    More surprisingly, the replication crisis may be about to hit politicized climate science because all of it leads to long term predictions drawn from faulty data and incorrect assumptions.

    Most importantly nearly all of their catastrophic predictions are ultimately founded on the assumption that human economic activity is about resources and access to resources – and because that’s wrong (see paul530 on substack) every conclusion they allow their beliefs to influence is wrong.

    As a result nearly all of the thousands of “thing x is dying – climate change” papers are absurd and almost no data provided in them can be replicated; nearly all embellishments, touch-ups, and/or reruns of models to produce cassandric warnings cannot be assessed, justified, or repeated with the same results by others; and, nearly all “this (oceonic, atmospheric, or biosystem) interaction proves doom” papers contain absurd mis-interpretations and/or non-replicable data.

    Bottom line: “the science” has been off the rails for 30 years but the political usefulness of it has not yet ended – so there’s hope, but no certainty.

  5. I’m on my second return flight 20 hours per leg Britain — S.E. Asia this year with a prospect of another in a couple of months. I’m doing my best for the global climate crisis. They still give you airmiles enticing you to travel more the more you travel which seems a little odd in the Age of the Carbonized Climate Apocalypse.

  6. JH

    Loss of prestige comes with the loss of men. Because men seek prestige. On average.

    Sexist words. Women researchers seek prestige too. On average.

    The woman shown in this post looks just fine. And it is a nice picture. What I don’t understand is how your female readers could tolerate your unkind judgement about a woman based on a picture.

  7. Faith

    Dear me, JH, I’ll have you know we “female readers” are as interested in the truth as any man!

  8. Johnno

    Many expurts likely missed their true calling; to be Hollywood actresses.

    They can still turn on the tears from the red carpet about climate hersteria whilst promoting their science fiction movie about apes learning to talk and ride horses and ruling their planet until the bears evolve and take over. The casting couch loves equality! Everyone passes!

    Also, I’m convinced that JH is a she/her!

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