Number of the Month

October  2006

The Movement

It is the great movement with no name.

It embraces the name of science but eschews its method. It embraces the method of religion but eschews its gods. It loathes industry but wallows in generous funding that was once generated by industry. It imposes rigid political correctness and despises individual freedom.

It calls itself green, but in action is more like a giant fungus, its hidden mycelia creeping through the substrata of society, every now and then throwing up a prominence in the form of a mushroom with the capability of accelerating proliferation by liberating copious spores (an editorship here, a society president there, a party leader elsewhere).

The secret of the success of this movement is summed up in those immortal lines of Tennyson:

That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright,
But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.

Thus the seminal book by Rachel Carson exploited the fact that some farmers were abusing the miraculous discovery of DDT to create an irrational hatred of that substance. Only now, many millions of deaths later, is the world facing up to the awfulness of what it has done. The brilliant work of Sir Austin Bradford Hill in establishing the correlation between cigarette smoking and lung cancer led to tobacco being branded as the evil icon of The Movement and gave birth to a train of debased science whose influence has spread far beyond the draconian and unjustified ban of that substance: for the need to protect the depressed standards of statistical practice needed to create and maintain the necessary panic has caused them to spread into other areas of science and medicine, with appalling consequences mainly in the form of  coercion of the masses into “appropriate” forms of behaviour.

Above all there is the imaginary monster of “climate change”; with carbon, the very stuff of life, perversely branded as the original sin. Again it is summed up in immortal words, this time by H L Mencken:

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

The more the scientific basis of global warming is debunked by reason and evidence, the more it is pressed as an article of faith by media that have been brought under almost total control by The Movement. Blanket censorship in the mainstream media is virtually complete, and the resistance movement exists mainly in the interstices of the internet.

One by one the citadels of science are invested and brought under control – the once great journals, the academic societies, the research funding bodies etc. – all abandon the scientific method and adopt the faith. It is a great irony that it should all happen most effectively in Britain , the home of sceptical science. From the Bacons, through the likes of Locke, Hume and Russell, to the magnificent climax of Popper’s statement of the principle of  falsifiability, the scientific method was painfully established, only to be abandoned in a few short decades. The method is essentially sceptical, as Thomas Huxley put it:

The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.

The Movement, by a long and elaborate process of subversion of the western education system and the institutions of science, has completely eliminated this concept. Thus we have the Royal Society, in total betrayal of everything it has ever  stood for, trying to suppress the very method of science in favour of the authoritarian faith and journals such as New Scientist, in truly Orwellian style, labelling that scientific method as “the abuse of science.”

Alas poor science!

… … and another bastion falls to the enemy

The following appalling message came from The RSA (the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), which was one of the remaining repositories of real science and common sense:

Dear Fellow
5 a year
As part of his new role as chairman of the RSA, Gerry Acher urges Fellows to follow his lead and take up the RSA 5 a year challenge.

What is 5 a year?
Gerry challenges the 26,000-strong Fellowship to join him on the first stage of the journey to cut greenhouse gas emissions to sustainable levels, by taking personal responsibility for the carbon we emit. If RSA Fellows take a lead, profile themselves using a new online personal carbon profiling tool, CarbonDAQ, and reduce their carbon emissions to five tonnes a year, we could achieve a combined emissions saving in excess of 100,000 tonnes, equivalent to taking 31,250 cars off the road.

How can Fellows take part?
There are five simple stages to the 5 a year challenge:
1. Visit and sign up to CarbonDAQ, to profile and monitor your personal carbon consumption
2. Automatically receive an annual allocation of five tonnes of carbon - and try to stick to it
3. Join in online discussion of how we can reduce our carbon usage, and put these ideas into practice
4. Share your ideas for carbon reduction and awareness projects, and vote on your favourites
5. If you exceed your allocation, you will be invited to donate to one of the projects of your choice
Getting started
Visit and discover how to play CarbonDAQ.
CarbonDAQ is a new tool for understanding the idea of personal carbon trading. The first stage is to enter basic data into a carbon calculator. Once this is completed, CarbonDAQ plots your carbon emissions over time, enabling you to visualise the impact of changes to your lifestyle, compare your progress with the RSA 5 a year carbon challenge and compare your personal emissions with those of others.

To listen to the Inaugural Lecture of the 253rd Session: ‘Carbon: Our personal responsibility’ or to catch Gerry Acher in conversation with The Guardian’s environment correspondent, David Adam, visit

News from the RSA AGM
At its AGM on Tuesday 3 October, the RSA announced that Matthew Taylor, currently chief adviser on strategy at 10 Downing Street , will be its new chief executive. To find out more about Matthew Taylor, who will take up the post in November, please visit

To read more about newly appointed chairman, Gerry Acher, and his plans for the RSA, please visit
For the results of the Trustee Board direct elections and further information on the changes to the Trustee Board approved by the RSA AGM, please visit

Philip A Bunt FCA
Acting Chief Executive
RSA, 8 John Adam Street
London WC2N 6EZ

+44 (0)20 7451 6914

The RSA (the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce)

- inspiring the future by:

·         Encouraging enterprise

·         Moving towards a zero-waste society

·         Developing a capable population

·         Fostering resilient communities

·         Advancing global citizenship

Registered as a charity in England and Wales , no. 212424.

To see our standard legal disclaimer click here  -

There it is – all the demands for mindless ritual and pointless sacrifice that are so characteristic of religion rather than science. They have even included confession. One could write back pointing out the facts and fallacies of the global warming scare, but what is the point? By the time believers have got to this stage, they are no longer in listening mode.

... ...and the inquisition grows

Number Watch warned of the growing inquisition against global warming deniers three years ago. Anyone who thinks that this was frivolous comment should read this latest account from Sp!ked.


A lone voice of sanity

May the gods of veracity preserve Christopher Booker. Not only does he doggedly keep drawing attention to the elephant in the room that all the main political parties try to ignore, namely the EU, he also bravely tells the truth about global warming. 

... ... but mad Margot's legacy lives on

What is there left to say?


A bit late, mate!  

What is the bloody point?  

In  February 2001 our Number of the month was 15,000  and appeared under the title mad, mad, mad! By November of that year Number Watch had posted at least thirteen comments on the growing disaster. By December the Number of the year was 7.7 million. A whole chapter of The Epidemiologists was entitled Holocaust in memory of the innocent animals that died in the great Foot and Mouth disaster.  

Magnus Linklater in a Times Thunderer column, entitled Carnage from a computer at last tells the truth about what happened.

Here is what Number Watch said about Linklater’s earlier essay on the subject in July 2002:

On The Times page there is a reasoned commentary by Magnus Linklater, which must carry the most understated headline of the year – Prevention was always preferable to mass killing.

Missing from the whole page was any mention of the epidemiologist whose computers orchestrated the crescendo of killing, Professor Roy Anderson; so in his honour here is a verse from T S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats:

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square
But when a crime's discovered, then Macavity’s not there!

Now at last, officialdom is facing up to the truths that some of us were telling five years ago. Anderson still does not get a mention, but Sir David King does, and he went on to become one of the great scaremongers of all time and  Numby Laureate. The role of journalists in the saga was a typically sorry one. They even connived to maintain the pretence that the crisis was over in time for the general election, when in fact the slaughter was at its height, thereby assuring the return of the Blair Government.

We now have an official report that tells us that mapping out the killing fields on the basis of a computer model was wrong. Some of us were saying that at the time (July 2001)! That was when action needed taking! Now it is just history.

Early the following year, your bending author discovered that the delightful neighbours to his new house were moving away. They had lost their home as well as their business. They were pig farmers. Their pigs were perfectly healthy, but the government restraints and the refusal to vaccinate had ruined them and destroyed their living and their lives. Their story was replicated a thousand times.  Meanwhile, the Mad Professor of Computer Science and the Chief Government Scientific Advisor are still alive and well and living very comfortably in a place that still goes by the name of England .

It's a Blair, Blair, Blair world!

Footnote: and who was the co-author of the only report to tell the truth about the holocaust at the time? It was the very same Christopher Booker.


Scam, scam, scam and scam

Scam is a word that comes up with increasing frequency when the actions of (or promoted by) the UK Government are discussed. The headline in the print version of the Mail on Sunday was Great Speed Cam Scam (different in the online version). Regular number watchers will be familiar with this outrageous piece of covert taxation that subverts the system of justice to turn it into a collection service for the Treasury, covering up gross sources of inaccuracy in the process. Christopher Booker’s main piece is headlined The BBC falls for the asbestos scam.

The crucial point about all of these scams is that they are a damaging drain on the economy. They absorb capital, labour and revenue. Thousands of businesses and ordinary householders are charged million of pounds for the removal of a harmless substance because it happens to share a common name with a quite different known carcinogen.

Here is a quote from Sorry, wrong number!

Of the many gifts bestowed by the French on the Anglo-Saxons, bureaucracy  must be the most potent. In Saxon times the learned and beneficent Alfred the Great could decree that half the revenues would go to education, and it was done. When the first English Kings reigned, the Treasury was just another department of the royal household, like the Wardrobe. Subsequent centuries would see a growth in the power and influence of the Treasury that is still continuing today.

That was six years ago. Thanks to the incompetence and insouciance of the Prime Minister in delegating domestic policy to his Chancellor, the Treasury has since made a great leap forward. Its tax and waste policies now dominate British Life. The biggest scam of all was one of Gordon Brown’s first moves, the raid on the private pensions system. It broke one of the golden rules of pensions policy by introducing double taxation. You get taxed when you put it in and taxed again when you take it out. So we have the front page headline in the Telegraph Brown's raid on pensions costs Britain £100 billion.

This was more than just another of Brown’s money-making schemes. It was inspired by malice. There is a type of middle class socialist motivated by hatred of their own origins. They are developmentally retarded, still engaged in their teenage rebellion against their own fathers. Brown has cold bloodedly condemned millions of elderly people, who had the temerity to plan for their declining years, to end their lives in penury and despair, forced to sign up for his humiliating means testing. He has simply stolen their savings. It is not just the money. He sent out a signal that the Government did not care about private sector pensions, so the whole industry virtually collapsed. Furthermore he singled out that sector of the population for swingeing taxation from of local council and other imposts. Meanwhile public sector employees were guaranteed inflation proofed packages paid for out of the taxation of the rest. Uniquely among chancellors he has left his successors with enormous, impossible burdens, such as the Private Finance Initiative, a form of hire purchase that will hog tie future finance minister for generations. He loves complexity and will only be satisfied when he has most of the population (though not, of course,  New Labour supporting millionaires) entangled in the coils of his bureaucratic schemes. Time was when finance ministers were just incompetent. This one is evil and he is the Prime Minister in waiting. Worst of all, if he gets to be Prime Minister he will have made himself the highest paid leader in the quasi-democratic world and a multimillionaire by dint of his pension alone.

It’s a sick, sick, sick world.


Temporary domestic notice

Numeric Towers is in some chaos at the moment. With your bending author about to start on the third round of antibiotics and in the process of developing a steroidal moon face, the entire dispatch department (namely Mrs Bending Author) was rushed into hospital with suspected meningitis (and, yes, the NHS was just as chaotic and filthy as the critics say). Both are now in recovery mode, but not firing on all cylinders. We would like to hear from anyone who has not received a book that was ordered. Also apologies are due to rather a large number of e-mail correspondents for lack of reply. In particular, some who responded to our sort of appeal in August have not received acknowledgement. It is hoped that this unforgivable omission will be rectified in due course.



The reason that Number Watch has been off the air for a week is not health problems, but a major computer crash. It turns out that your bending author has been living in a fool's paradise of computer security. Despite having the full Norton security suite and an external drive, the system could not be restored. Fortunately, after previous experiences, there were multiple back-ups of data files, but it will take some time to get back to normality.


Compare and contrast

If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
Anatole France

As the hysteria was stoked up to meet the arrival of the much heralded Stern report, the Telegraph produced a pair of articles that neatly expose the differences in reasoning on the two sides of the divide.

One of them is nicely reasoned while the other turns science on its head in a most extraordinary manner. Philip Eden gives a correct encapsulation of the scientific method, but goes on to make the most bizarre interpretation of it

Those who wish to label themselves as sceptics of a particular hypothesis are, therefore, duty-bound by Step 4, above, to turn their scepticism into a series of sound experiments to test the original hypothesis, or to present a counter hypothesis. It is, therefore, not true to say, as some do, that sceptics' views are not important or welcomed.

However, there are a very few self-styled sceptics who, for whatever reason, try to subvert the scientific method, and they should certainly be exposed for so doing.

Thus if someone puts forward a hypothesis that the moon is made of green cheese, it is not his job to devise a critical test for that hypothesis, it is the job of anyone who does not accept his premise. If he is sufficiently productive of hypotheses he can tie up the whole of the world’s scientific workforce for the foreseeable future without having to bestir himself. Furthermore, there are no experiments that can be done on the climate – it is too big – so the impossible task is deftly transferred from the scaremongers to the doubters, leaving the former free to hypothesise at will without challenge. Not for the first time, the few who still defend the scientific method find themselves accused of abusing it.


Full speed astern

Well, the Stern report has arrived. What can one say about it? Nonsense we expected and nonsense we got. It takes the most extreme fantasies of the UN IPCC and performs the usual trick of presenting only one side of a balance sheet. Up to now there has never been an accurate economic forecast, and there still has not been one. Commentaries can be found in some of our Best of the Blogs, including Tim Worstall and The Englishman, but is it really worth the effort? Old Nick did the job the Treasury required and made the case for even more stringent taxation and economic failure. Don’t Care Blair and Stuntman Dave jumped on the bandwagon with alacrity. Now that the Conservative party has closed its collective mind following the green coup, the only party left with any pretensions of respect for science is UKIP.


Number of the month – 1

The number is suggested by Our Man in Puerto Rico who, minded of the current indolence of your bending author, provides the following justification:

One is the number of the month. This is the number of reports on the economics of global warming that have been issued this month. It is a report in which a formerly respected economist, in cahoots with the UK government, finally will drive the UK economy to the ground by implementing a plethora of green stealth taxes, based on the false premise that global warming computer models can foresee the climate 50 to 100 years into the future....




Note: The policy of Number Watch has now been amended and financial contributions are solicited to enable it to continue an independent existence.





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