Friday, December 11, 2009

Copenhagen’s Mad Men

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/10/09

If anyone ever deserved to win an award it is the American master Mel Brooks who was honored this week at the Kennedy Center. They might offer an evening showing of Young Frankenstein this week in Copenhagen, a small masterpiece in that popular genre of the mad scientist.

It has been suggested all over this week that the climate scientists, whose studies will be legitimized at Copenhagen, and their politicians have come to see themselves as priests, possibly because as the leaked memos make clear, they ask us to believe what they tell us on faith. It was a staple of Hollywood in the earlier days that the “new truths” of science brought delirium akin to religious cult insanity, manifesting in the excitable or confused “mad scientist.” Jerry Lewis in the Nutty Professor or Ben Linus and the Dharma Initiative today in the Lost series.

These were the new priests of a new religion, scientism, a belief that science could explain all, while faith was disparaged as random, anecdotal and regressive. It was the religion of the ‘50s Mad Men and American capitalism rising to world power. Of communism and socialism as well; indeed, as Newton societies have noted, these forms were based on misbegotten scientific theory. Not all agreed science was the new path to salvation. C.G. Jung, the Swiss psychological pioneer and Freud colleague abandoned science because he felt he had “lost his soul” to it. Kerson Huang, the theoretical physicist at MIT who was with Lee and Yang at the Princeton Institute when they won the Nobel Prize in 1957, said science is simply about measuring things but some things, like love, cannot be measured. Brooks’ parody in fact follows the 1931 original by picturing bringing the golem, Frankenstein, back from the dead in a scene intentionally modeled on a priest at the altar in the Sacrifice of the Mass.

In fact, that “everyone agrees” about climate change, “for goodness sake,” as Al Gore put it, is a symptom of religion gone wild. It is sign and symptom of horde mentality.

“Science is their religion,” said the Cigarette Smoking Man in an X Files episode based on the return of the Christ. If so, the group of Celestial Goreians meeting in Copenhagen this week are its College of Cardinals.

Copenhagen is not about science. Like Kyoto, it is about vast, conspicuous displays of piety, earnest manifestos and promises that will not be kept. But without question, science, scientific theory, engineering and technology over the last 200 years has caused and advanced global warming. It may not lead to solutions.

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