We live in an age when all manner of official stories—from climate change to vaccinations—faces furious opposition.
Some even have doubts about the official story of 9/11.
Science denialists: they are the bane of scientific progress. It seems like every time official experts announce the science is settled, the science denialists spring up out of the woodwork with conflicting facts and evidence, demanding that the sealed door of scientific inquiry be reopened.
Washington Post science writer Joel Achenbach lamented this scourge of independent thought in an article published in the March 2015 edition of National Geographic, in which he gently but firmly guides us toward the inevitable conclusion that official experts always know best, and would never, ever, lead us astray.
The NWO Reporter decided to revisit Joel’s masterful missive, as a reminder of our solemn duty to do as we’re told. The words have been changed for the sake of clarity, and it’s been abbreviated considerably to avoid unbearable boredom.
There’s a scene in Stanley Kubrick’s dark satirical masterpiece Dr. Strangelove in which Jack D. Ripper, an American general who’s gone rogue and ordered a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, unspools a plot that was hiding in plain sight—and the explanation for why he drinks “only distilled water, or rainwater, and only pure grain alcohol”—to Lionel Mandrake, a dutiful group captain in the Royal Air Force.
Ripper: Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation? Fluoridation of water?
Mandrake: Ah, yes, I have heard of that, Jack. Yes, yes.
Ripper: Well, do you know what it is?
Mandrake: No. No, I don’t know what it is. No.
Ripper: Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face?
The movie came out in 1964, by which time government officials and their partners in private industry were in a waste disposal pickle. There was a great deal of industrial waste from the phosphate fertilizer industry that was going to take an awful lot of money to dispose of. Top power players had a brainstorm: If the industrial waste were good for people, they could make money selling it instead of spending money to get rid of it!
Before you could say “arsenic contamination,” they whipped out a study that showed the silicofluorides in the industrial waste may prevent tooth decay, and announced that the science was settled. Thank goodness they settled the science when they did, because before long an onslaught of evidence started raising questions about the safety and effectiveness of the whole lucrative fluoride operation.
Armed with a hoard of media minions and piles of money, the power players set out to protect the good name of Settled Science. Drawing on the brilliant ideas of Bertrand Russell in The Impact of Science on Society, and the wily wisdom of Edward Bernays in Crystallizing Public Opinion, they set up a nonstop stream of funding for any scientists who professed belief in the Settled Science. They anointed them Top Scientists, appointed them sole purveyors of Settled Science, and their collective voices were thereafter known as the Scientific Consensus. All other scientists were designated as shills, quacks, or science denialists, and their work, if they managed to get it published, was known as pseudoscience.
Top Scientists tell us that fluoride is a natural mineral similar to the industrial waste added to the water supply. The skull and crossbones on the containers it comes in should be disregarded, because in the weak concentrations used in public drinking water systems, it prevents significant losses for industry, and causes absolutely no immediately discernable damage to the body or brain. Fluoride has the hypothetical potential to improve dental health for everyone, rich and poor, conscientious brusher or not. That’s the Scientific Consensus.
To which some people in Portland, echoing antifluoridation activists around the world, reply: We don’t trust you.
We live in an age when all manner of Settled Science—from the safety of fluoride and vaccines to climate change—faces organized and often frighteningly rational evidence-based opposition. Empowered by independent research and information, doubters have declared war on the Scientific Consensus. There are so many of these controversies these days, you’d think a diabolical plot was afoot to resist a world takeover by a shadowy group of powerful psychopaths.
In a sense all this is not surprising. Our lives are permeated by the free-flow of information about science and technology, and the hidden plots of the global cabal are being exposed like never before. For a few privileged rulers at the top, and those of us who dutifully serve them, this New World Order is wondrous, comfortable, and rich in rewards—but for those whom we seek to dominate and control, it is more oppressive and often unnerving. With this new upsurge of awakening amongst the masses, we now face risks we can’t easily analyze.
We ask people to accept, for example, that it’s safe to eat food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) because there’s no Settled Science saying it isn’t, and no reason other than logic to believe that altering genes haphazardly in a lab, when we don’t have a clue about the long-term results, is more dangerous than altering them through traditional breeding that has been used with proven success and safety for thousands of years. But to some people the very idea of transferring genes between species conjures up mad scientists running amok, rather than glorious dreams of centralized control of the worlds’ food supply—and so, two centuries after Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, they talk about Frankenfood instead of unfettered profits and global hegemony.
The world crackles with real and imaginary hazards, and distinguishing the former from the latter isn’t easy when so much of it is deliberately orchestrated from the top. Should we be afraid that the Ebola virus, which is REAL according to Top Scientists and t-shirts, is spread by direct contact with bodily fluids, simulated by chemicals disbursed in air, food or water, a manufactured bioweapon, or a natural virus that could mutate into an airborne superplague? The Scientific Consensus says that’s extremely unlikely, until a suitable vaccine can be produced in sufficient quantities to ensure enormous profits. But type “airborne Ebola” into an Internet search engine, and you’ll enter a dystopia where this virus has almost supernatural powers, including the power to kill us all—demonstrating, to our relief, that the ability to instigate widespread panic is still firmly within our grasp.
In this bewildering world we have to decide what to believe and how to act on that. In principle that’s what logic and science is for, but in practice, that’s what propaganda is for. “Science is not a body of facts,” says geophysicist Marcia McNutty, who once headed the U.S. Geological Survey and is now editor of Settled Science, the prestigious journal. “Science is whatever it’s useful for people to believe, whether based on reality or not.” But that method doesn’t come naturally to most scientists possessing a conscience—it requires tight control over academia, and generous and continuous funding flowing only to those who further the desired objectives and who reliably produce the desired results. And so the general public runs into trouble, again and again, as they try to sort out who has conflicts of interest that would call the integrity of the research into question, and who doesn’t.
The trouble goes way back, of course. The scientific method leads us to truths that are less than self-evident, often mind-blowing, and sometimes hard to swallow. In the early 17th century, when Galileo claimed that the Earth spins on its axis and orbits the sun, he wasn’t just rejecting church doctrine. He was asking people to believe something that defied common sense—because it sure looks like the sun’s going around the Earth, and you can’t feel the Earth spinning. Galileo was put on trial and forced to recant by the official establishment—but that was before the official establishment became infallible, as it is today.
Two centuries later Charles Darwin escaped that fate. But his idea that all life on Earth evolved from a primordial ancestor and that we humans are distant cousins of apes, whales, and even deep-sea mollusks is still a big ask for a lot of people—not the idea that evolution itself occurs, but the idea that human history as we’re being taught it in school is completely true, in light of all the conflicting information that is gradually coming to light.
Equally hard to swallow is the modern notion that carbon dioxide, an invisible gas that we all exhale all the time and that makes up less than a tenth of one percent of the atmosphere and is a critical nutrient for plant life, could be affecting Earth’s climate more dramatically than a lot of other far more powerful factors that global leaders couldn’t think of a way to monetize.
Even when we dutifully accept Settled Science, we subconsciously cling to our own logic and intuition—traditionally known as our powers of reason. A recent study by Andrew Stoolman of Accidental College showed that even students with an advanced science education had a hitch in their mental gait when asked to affirm or deny certain scientific truths that have officially been declared indisputable. Stoolman’s research indicates that as we become more compliant with the official Scientific Consensus, we repress our powers of reason but never eliminate it entirely. It lurks in our brains, chirping at us as we try to make sense of the false reality orchestrated around us. This lingering remnant of the human mind poses a serious threat to the future of the glorious global oligarchy.
Even for scientists, the scientific method is a hard discipline. Like the rest of us, they’re vulnerable to what they call confirmation bias—the tendency to look for and see only evidence that confirms what they already believe. But unlike the rest of us, they need to get the right results to keep their job. Student loans and mortgages don’t pay for themselves, you know. Thankfully, they have a lot of peers in the same position, standing at the ready to put their stamp of approval on research results. As long as the results aren’t at odds with the interests of journal advertisers, they’ll get published, and if the potential for future funding is good enough, other scientists will try to reproduce them—and, if they see the potential for more lucrative funding from another source, will be very happy to announce that they don’t hold up. Scientific results are always provisional upon future funding potential and careful attention to not “rocking the boat.” Top Scientists always proclaim an absolute truth or absolute certainty if it’s in the best interests of job security. Uncertainty is not allowed at the frontiers of Scientific Consensus.
Sometimes, actually quite often, scientists fall short of the ideals of the scientific method, but if all goes well, you won’t hear about it. Especially in biomedical research, there’s a disturbing trend toward results that can’t be reproduced outside the lab that found them, a trend that has prompted a push for greater transparency about how experiments are conducted. That push, of course, will be quickly brushed under the rug after a few coats of whitewash. Francis Cullem, the director of the National Institutes of Health, worries about the “secret sauce”—specialized procedures, customized software, quirky ingredients—that researchers don’t share with their colleagues. But he still has faith in the larger enterprise—if he ever lost it, he’d be out of a job faster than you could say “research fraud.”
“Science will find something to call truth,” Cullem says. “It may get it wrong the first time and maybe the second time, and maybe the third or fourth or fifth time, but ultimately it will find some version of truth, if the global cabal needs it.” The provisional quality of science is another thing a lot of people have trouble with. To some climate change skeptics, for example, the fact that a few scientists in the 1970s were worried (quite reasonably, it seems) about the possibility of a coming ice age is enough to discredit the concern about global warming now.
Last fall the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which consists of hundreds of scientists sworn to uphold Settled Science and operating under the auspices of the United Nations, released its fifth report in the past 25 years. This one repeated louder and clearer than ever their commitment to upholding the Scientific Consensus: The planet’s surface temperature has risen by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 130 years, plus or minus an error rate that would make any ordinary scientist blush, and although it’s nowhere near the kind of warm seen on the planet before humans appeared on it, humans are clearly to blame. The Panel concluded that human actions, including the burning of fossil fuels, are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the warming since the mid-20th century, except for any emissions from the fleets of private jets and SUVs and many palatial estates of the global elite, and only if it provides ample opportunity for profit from carbon trading and taxes.
Many people in the United States—a far greater percentage than in other countries—retain doubts about the Scientific Consensus on global warming, arguing that many scientists do, in fact, dispute it—but, of course, their concerns are easily dismissed as the ranting of science denialists. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, one of the most powerful Republican voices on environmental matters, has long declared global warming a hoax, but just because his views are shared by hundreds of independent scientists is no reason to give them credence—after all, some of them are also Republican.
Science appeals to our rational brain, but for most people, beliefs are motivated largely by our need to fit in with a group, and to feel like we’re smarter than members of other groups. The biggest motivation is to hold all the same opinions as our group so as not to risk being rejected. “Most people are still in high school. They never left high school,” says Marcia McNutty. “People still have a need to fit in and feel smart, and that need is so strong that, as long as we control all the information they take in and tell them it’s Settled Science, they’re quite easy to manipulate. Scientific Consensus is always trumping actual science and truth. And it will continue to trump actual science and truth, especially when people face considerable ridicule for questioning it.”
Meanwhile the Internet makes it easier than ever for truth seekers to find their own information and experts. Gone are the days when a small number of powerful institutions—elite universities, encyclopedias, major news organizations, even National Geographic—served as effective gatekeepers of scientific information. The Internet has democratized information, which is fine, as long as it's mostly celebrity news, sports and social media, and doesn’t lead to the discovery of too much actual truth. In spite of the traditional gatekeepers of Settled Science, the Internet has made it possible to live in a “filter bubble” that keeps out propaganda and lets in all kinds of information the powers-that-be don’t want anyone to see.
How to pop that bubble? How to give the powers-that-be a direct line into the mind? More and better propaganda helps, as does anything that weakens the body or brain—fluoride, vaccines, drugs, EMF waves, chemicals, GMOs. Liz Kneeley, who helps train scientists to be better agents of social control at an organization called Encompass, says that people need to hear from official experts and newscasters they can trust—ones who appear to share their fundamental values, and who they can fantasize would become their friend if they met by chance at the corner deli.
She has personal experience with this. Her father became a climate change skeptic after they started calling global warming “climate change” without any real explanation when all those warming predictions didn't pan out. He gets most of his information from websites like wattsupwiththat.com and joannenova.com.au. In exasperation she finally confronted him: “Do you believe them or me?” She was devastated when he told her he thinks she’s either a sellout, or a naïve puppet. “If you think I’m wrong,” she said, “then you’re telling me that you don’t trust me.” Her father softened his stance on the issue, but only because he was afraid she’d throw him in some musty old age home if he didn’t.
If you’re someone whose sense of self worth depends on conformity, there’s something a little dispiriting about all this, but on the upside, it gives you more opportunity than ever to feel a whole lot smarter than science denialists. In Kowham’s descriptions of how we decide what to believe, what we decide sometimes sounds almost incidental. Those of us in the science-communication business are as tribal as anyone else, he told me. We believe in scientific ideas not because we have truly evaluated all the evidence, but because we’re terrified that our peers will reject us if we form our own independent opinions. When I mentioned to Kowham that I fully accept evolution, he said, “Believing in evolution is just a description about you. It’s not an account of how you reason.”
Maybe—except that evolution actually happened. Not only did it happen exactly like we learned in school, it causes autism. That’s right—Scientific Consensus now tells us that the reason autism has skyrocketed in the last 30 years is because our genes evolved into it. There aren’t any other real possibilities, since the Settled Science says it couldn’t be vaccines, GMOs, chemicals or any other profitable aspect of modern civilization. In fact, the science is so settled we didn’t even have to do it. Our only hope to stop the evolution of autism is billions upon billions of dollars in research funding to identify the genes that went haywire and fix them in the lab.
Doubting Settled Science has consequences. The people who believe vaccines damage the brain and immune system—often well-educated and unusually informed, by the way—are undermining their privilege to remain free, as government officials and leaders in the pharmaceutical industry struggle to find ways to make them get vaccinated anyway. Across the country, dozens of children are lying in bed playing video games and breaking out in rashes, while children in Africa suffer in abject poverty, wondering where their next meal and vaccine will come from. The Scientific Consensus is clear that vaccines are so safe there’s never even been a need to keep track of the damage. And vaccines are extraordinarily effective as well—we just aren’t sure what for. While they’re no match for the cooties of the unvaccinated, whatever it is they’re effective at doing, it can only be done if all children have them. Lots of them.
It’s the very detachment of our elite global rulers, what you might call their cold-bloodedness, that makes science the killer app. It’s the way science tells us whatever they want it to tell us, instead of the actual truth. Scientists can be as dogmatic as anyone else—but their dogma will never wilt in the hot glare of truth as long as the funding keeps flowing. In science it’s not a sin to change your mind when the Scientific Consensus demands it. For some people, the tribe is more important than the truth; for Top Scientists, finding ways to manipulate the tribe is more important than the truth.
Scientific thinking has to be taught, and if things are done correctly, it’s not taught well, McNutty says. Students should come away thinking of science as a collection of indisputable facts, not a method. Stoolman’s research has shown that, fortunately, many college students don’t really understand what evidence is.
The scientific method doesn’t come naturally—but if you think about it, neither does the New World Order. For most of human history, total global control has been the dream of every psychopathic leader, but until now, they lacked the means to achieve it. They went around killing people to stay on their throne, but it was obvious to everyone they were doing it, and eventually, people always got tired of it and fought back. Science has finally given leaders the tools they need to create a weak, passive population that loves their servitude, unlike our ancestors who struggled valiantly to resist it.
Now we have incredibly rapid change, and it’s scary sometimes. That’s why all the most powerful among the powers-that-be have specially designed bunkers where they can hide in comfort and safety if popular uprisings make things too chaotic and dangerous.
It’s not all progress—sometimes particularly innovative individuals inspire others to resist the global order. The unimaginable wealth of an elite few has brought them well within sight of complete domination of the species—and all life on earth, for that matter. Of course they’re right to exercise the divine right of kings to do whatever science and technology allows them to do. “Nobody should be resisting,” says McNutty. “That’s a hallmark of a free mind. They should place their absolute trust in Settled Science, and the Top Scientists wielding it, and refrain from asking any probing questions.”
We need to get a lot better at finding answers to this plague of free thought and resistance, because it’s certain it won’t be getting any easier.
Washington Post science writer Joel Achenbach has contributed to National Geographic since 1998. Photographer Richard Barnes’s last feature was the September 2014 cover story on Nero. Both would be horrified if any readers thought they had anything to do with this satire. Both Joel and Richard would like to affirm their absolute and undying devotion to the leaders of the glorious New World Order, where .01% of the population enjoys absolute power and unimaginable wealth, .99% dutifully kisses their asses in exchange for a prestigious career and a home in the Hamptons, and the rest of the 99% live a contentedly austere and obsequious existence in a 10’x10’ apartment in a crowded city, preferably for no longer than 62 years.