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Reviewing a book blacklisted by Amazon because it dared say things Amazon doesn’t like

The Plague of Models, blacklisted by Amazon
The Plague of Models, blacklisted by Amazon

They’re coming for you next: Last week I posted an essay on the over-use and misuse of computer modeling in today’s scientific community, focused specifically on the unreliability of all climate models to successfully predict any actual climate trends.

One of the individuals who read my essay, Kenneth Green, immediately commented here on Behind the Black to note that he had just published a book on this very subject, entitled The Plague of Models: How Computer Modeling Corrupted Environmental, Health, and Safety Regulations, describing how the misuse of models has resulted in the proliferation of government regulations based not on actual data but on computer models that in many ways are nothing more than the opinions of the computer programs.

Green also noted that Amazon has refused to make his book available for sale, essentially banning it for no justifiable reason. As he explained to me in an email,

My publisher, who is a start-up small Canadian publisher specializing in public policy books, tried to upload The Plague of Models to Amazon, as he had previously done with half a dozen other books while working at previous institutions as in-house publisher.

This time, unlike his previous experiences, the book was taken down shortly after it was uploaded (and we know the upload process worked, since the book was available briefly for preview, so there was no technical issue with the manuscript file). The publisher got a form-letter email saying that the book had been taken down because it may have violated some (non-specific) Amazon Term of Service. When he sent a note back requesting clarification/appeal, he got another form letter, this one repeating that the book may have violated some term of service, and warning that any attempt to re-upload would get his entire account terminated.

From what I’ve read on the internet, other conservative authors are bumping into the same pattern with Amazon. The book was successfully uploaded to Google Play Books, picked up by Barnes and Noble, as well as picked up by Ingram Global Distribution

There’s no way to know exactly why Amazon refused to distribute, as they hide behind the form letters, and don’t give one a human to talk to about it. But we are pretty sure we did not violate any of Amazon’s “Terms of Service.” I do suspect that we tripped a rejection-algorithm because of the somewhat critical discussion of COVID modeling that I have in the book. It’s a matter of record that Amazon installed filters to eliminate a vast swath of products and books related to COVID as “disinformation,” after they were threatened with investigation by Elizabeth Warren, back in 2020.

I decided Green’s book would be worth reading, and asked him for a review copy, which he graciously provided. I figured, if Amazon was blacklisting Green and his book, it likely contains some valuable insights that others should know about.

I now can say unequivocally that this book should be read by every high school student and every single journalist in the nation. It not only makes clear the difference between the abstract nature of models versus the concrete nature of actual data, it provides an excellent history of the corruption of science in the last half century as scientists shifted from skepticism and a reliance on observation and gathering real world data to using models to advocate political positions and then shaping their data to fit those opinion-based models. If more people understood this history and these facts we would see far fewer news articles proclaiming the coming end of the world, based on climate models. We would also have more ordinary citizens able to see through those junk articles and dismiss them for the junk they are.

The book also provides an excellent history of how government agencies in the past half century misused these unreliable models to justify new and odious regulations, often for good intentions but always based not on real data but on models purposely shaped to justify those regulations.

For example, do you know that only real research used by the EPA for its regulations on the health dangers from ultra-violet radiation come from only about a half dozen old studies, all done before 2001 “…on hairless mice, eye lenses taken out of young pigs, and, oh, a population of people from Salisbury, Maryland.” These few studies, while well done, came to conclusions that were very uncertain and had many caveats. Despite this lack of substantial data, however, the EPA then proceeded to build an edifice of regulations to protect the Earth’s ozone hole, backing up this shallow research with a plethora of computer models that had no basis in fact. Green details this history, using the EPA’s own printed words. As he concludes,

What I consider to be a part of the plague of models is how such research is then incorporated into complex abstract models that give such research findings an aura of greater utility than is warranted.

The regulations that resulted required society to spend billions on revising our air conditioning and refrigeration systems while banning most aerosol sprays. In general these government rules made life more difficult. Did they actually prevent cataracts and skin cancer? We really have no idea, because the research doesn’t really exist to tell us. All we have are unreliable computer models that are essentially nothing more the opinions of their programmers.

climate models vs observations
Actual observational data vs climate models

Green’s book is best however when he describes the evolution of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from its first reports in the early 1990s to the more recent reports in the 2000s. In the beginning these reports were written and controlled by the scientists, with a focus on describing in detail the actual known data on the climate as well as the vast uncertainties. By the 2000s the reports were no longer scientific reports, but political statements shaped by governments with little relationship to facts. Instead, computer climate models dominated, the same computer climate models that have consistently failed to predict anything correctly for decades. And yet, it was those models that became the basis for the later IPCC reports that repeatedly declared we are all about to die if we don’t impose severe government restrictions on our way of life.

I know personally that Green’s book on this subject is correct, because I myself read through all the IPCC reports, and found the same pattern. This is a history that everyone must know in order to understand how useless most IPCC reports are. They don’t tell us anything. They instead spout propaganda, and use unreliable and untrustworthy models to justify that propaganda.

Green concludes his book with a chapter on the Wuhan panic, and the fake models used to sell the idea that we needed masks, lockdowns, and social distancing to “slow the spread” so that hospital emergency rooms would not be overrun. As he concludes,

Computer modeling of COVID-19 risk were not, at the end of the day, the cause of the vast panoply of horrendous public policy, rules, and regulations promulgated in dealing with COVID-19, some of which will haunt us forever.

But modeling of the potential value of COVID-19 risk-mitigation interventions did indeed play such a role, and should be a cautionary tale for the future, because they enabled panicked governments to implement intervention policies that, while completely untested, were nearly guaranteed to cause massive harm to people’s lives, employment, and economies that would last many years beyond the pandemic itself. The utility of the “non-pharmaceutical” interventions, all pinned to the novel idea that society’s over-arching value was the conservation of intensive care beds, were also over-estimated. Meanwhile, the damages that would be done to society by the radical changes of widespread economic sector shutdowns, exhortations to “stay home, stay safe,” restrictions on occupancy in shops and restaurants, intimidating and unpleasant mask-mandates, social-distancing mandates, and all the rest were almost universally ignored. In fact, mentioning them would get you banned from most social networking in pretty short order. [emphasis mine]

I highlight that last sentence because that is exactly what happened to me, at least among my own social circles. I dared say that masks and lockdowns made no sense, and refused to obey. I was thus blacklisted by almost all of my so-called friends for daring to speak what I saw as truth, and has since been proven correct over and over again.

Nor was my experience the worst example of recent blacklisting. My own daily blacklist column since 2021 describes numerous much more horrible examples, from preventing little children from getting life saving operations to having hundreds of skilled doctors fired and blacklisted for simply expressing questions about COVID policy.

That same blacklisting mentality at Amazon has now engulfed The Plague of Models, getting it banned for daring to say things someone at Amazon doesn’t want to hear.

A brutal house-cleaning must happen, or western civilization is doomed
A brutal house-cleaning must happen,
or western civilization is doomed

The one area of Green’s book that I found weak was his last chapter outlining what we should do to correct the overuse of models. In it he simple proposes more regulations to make government agencies and the people who work for them more responsible and less reliant of computer models.

I think Green on this is being naive. Regulations can’t fix anything, especially when the people involved are passionate ideologues willing to warp science of political reasons. They will either ignore such new regulations, or twist them to actually prevent others from challenging them.

What we really need is a full house-cleaning, merciless and thorough. The staff of CDC, the EPA, the FDA, and many other agencies must be replaced, from top to bottom. At a minimum the total personnel of these agencies needs to be trimmed enormously. Only then can the American people, working with good scientists devoted only in gathering actual data, can we regain control of our society. Only then can scientists themselves recapture scientific research so that is no longer distorted by unreliable models with no basis in fact, but instead returns to the Enlightenment goal of an unwavering search for truth, a goal that made western civilization a civilization for the past five hundred years.

If you wish to buy Green’s The Plague of Models, you can get it from his publisher Fullerene, from Google Play, from Barnes & Noble, from Books-A-Million, and from Thrift Books.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Related, fiat currency is a kind of model:


    “$ubjective governments not likely to dominate?”, what the hell does that mean?

    “The American dollar is the dominant world fiat currency and is designated the “Reserve” currency for most of the world. The American dollar is the currency that most international transactions take place in. And why is that so? Due to some genius economic manipulations in history, the power of the Constitution and Capitalism and free markets as they are, and because of the resulting confidence and credibility related to our law, justice and court system.

    People as well as country’s must have confidence in the money, paper or otherwise, that they have in their pockets and in their bank accounts especially when your monetary system is based in a Fiat currency system / model. What is a fiat currency?”

    There is more……….

  • Michael Buckner

    Thank you for this, it’s on the way.

  • Kevin Dunn

    The book is available at Barnes and Nobles

  • Kevin Dunn: You might want to look at the last sentence of the review.

  • Jeff Wright

    I have often been skeptical of CFD.

    It’s why I want SLS to evolve into an Energiya type side mount for large boilerplates that might impart pitch loads and bending moments were it top mounted on SuperHeavy.

    I still want a Buran type Shuttle 2

  • Having worked with computer models professionally, I have been very skeptical of the Policy by Priesthood practiced in the West the past four decades. If a model can’t return accurate results from known situations., it is useless for generating valid results from unknown situations. Mr. Green’s book could as well have been titled ‘Confirmation Bias’.

  • Neo

    I bought the book from Barnes and Noble, but haven’t been able to find time to read it.
    After this review of sorts, I plan to make time.

  • This is what passes as a climate scientist at NASA? Her feelings are relevant?

    Subjective? Objective? Choose one if you are going to bill yourself as a highly educated climate scientist.

    She kind of reminds me of how Ricky Gervais comments one the “New Women”.

    She is a “New” kind of scientist, one that is more qualified to work in a Disney park rather than at NASA.

  • BLSinSC

    All these “predictions” are as useful as TODAY’s Weather Forecast for TOMORROW! We should know by now that anytime the GOVERNMENT gets involved with FUNDING something that “something” will GROW! I want PRESIDENT TRUMP on DAY ONE to declare and END to ALL FUNDING for “Climate crap”! Al Gore got RICH due to his hysterics – why hasn’t HE been put on a stand to explain HIS past LIES?? Isn’t that sort of like using HIS THREATS as EXTORTION??
    On a RELATED note, an HONEST review of ACTUAL VOTES would not show the turnip in the White House having 81 million!

  • John S.

    My approach to “climate models” has always been if a model took all the known existing earthly parameters from say 250 million years ago, known from geological investigations, atmospheric constitution, ocean currents, continental mass location, Sun output, vegetative cover, Milankovitch position, volcanic status, etc. put that into a “model”, then, by punching the “execute” button all subsequent climate change through the next 250 million years would be spot-on, one might then have a reasonable model. Does anyone think NASA has done that? Total and absolute hubris.

    Thanks much for the reference and the author.

  • Frank James

    I’m working through the book now, and I do have a couple of issues with it. Chiefly, it’s *very* poorly edited, with numerous grammatical errors, inconsistent case usage for molecule names (somewhat puzzling for a PhD in environmental science and engineering), and at least one error in basic history (Nixon did not sign the Clean Air Act in 1963). The author’s folksy writing style can also get somewhat tiresome.

    But, the meat of the book substantial and very educational. I will be loaning by copy out after I’m finished.

  • Frank James: I have pointed out the sloppy copy-editing issues to the author directly. I however decided that the meat of the book was more important, as it is clear that it was poor copy-editing, not poor research. The Nixon error you cite is clearly a typo, not a historical error.

  • Dave

    Dennis Prager often says truth is not a left wing value. These sad escapades by Amazon and the many agencies of gov’t, all rather handily coopted by the left, underline the truth of that assertion.

  • Htos1av

    Looks like we have an answer.

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