Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

A preliminary copy of the next IPCC report has been leaked.

IPCC figure

A preliminary copy of the next IPCC report has been leaked.

In the coming days there will be much discussion of this document — such as how it appears the IPCC has finally acknowledged the importance of the Sun’s variability to climate change — but for now, I post on the right what is probably its most important admission. This graph from the leaked report shows the rise in global temperatures as predicted by all the different climate models used by the IPCC, compared to actual observed temperatures. As you can see, since the late 1990s there has been no significant increase in global temperature. Moreover, the observed data now sits outside the predicted margin of error for all the models, making every single one of these models completely wrong.

But don’t worry, these facts aren’t important. In fact, any facts that contradict the religion of global warming must be ignored. It is far more important to shut down all industry and live like cavemen, just because we have faith in our belief in global warming.


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Your support is even more essential to me because I keep this site free from advertisements and do not participate in corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.

You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


  • Rene Borbon

    Sarcastically: It’s hard for me to imagine variability in the Sun’s output has more influence over trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere! Does anyone outside of the media take this group of scientist-priests seriously. LOL!

  • JGL

    Just like many subjects that are part of our world, people create a model in their heads based on

    what they “know”, these models are mostly subjective and self serving and rarely reflect facts.

    I am always ready to challenge someone when they give an opinion on which I know they have no

    other information then what they heard on MSNBC.

    This is how the media and others shape public opinion, its a know human condition and

    is used as a tool of control to shape policy.

    Which is not to say that we should not be mindful of our effects on our environment.

  • Rene Borbon

    A long winded filibuster that strains credulity. Two words from this committed skeptic: Occam’s Razor.

  • Paul Lake

    Occam’s Razor is a great argument….

    1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
    2. CO2 has dramatically increased (250 to 391 ppm) due to the burning of forests and fossil fuels.
    3. It’s getting hotter (Bob argues… “not as hot as they said it would”)

    Pretty simple.

  • Paul Lake

    Hi Bob,

    If you don’t want me to post anymore on your blog, I will respect your wishes. I really like you on the Space Show and I really enjoy your coverage of space news on Behind the Black. And I bet if we sat down and got to know each other and shared a pitcher we would like each other… but we would both walk away thinking…”man, that guy is totally delusional!”

    Now, you showed your graph from the leaked IPCC. Haven’t read it yet, but I look forward to doing so as soon as Winter Break starts (yeah… I’m a public school teacher). But I look at graphs like the ones in this article:

    You may not like the source, but the graphs, I think, are taken from scientifically reliable papers. You see, I’m a skeptic. I believe that you really shouldn’t believe something unless there’s evidence to back it up. I’m also aware that we, you and I both, are susceptible to confirmation bias (which is one reason I like to haunt conservative blogs like your… it serves to challenge us both I hope). So when it comes to UFO’s, the Moon landings, religion, evolution, vaccinations, etc… I tend to go with the science guys. And when it comes to climate change the overwhelming weight of the scientific establishment is contrary to your view. How do you reconcile that?

    I’m just a guy… a little bubble of consciousness floating on the surface of spaceship Earth… trying to do what’s right for his fellow bubbles in the froth of life.

    Paul Lake
    Fresno, CA

  • wodun

    The first graph linked shows less than one degree change over thirty years which is well within historical variation.

    Zimmerman always talks about the uncertainty of science, which is what the graph in his post emphasizes. None of the models correctly predicted the future.

    The climate is a chaotic system that is always changing and not enough is known about how it works to make credible predictions.

    The world isn’t going to end in some global warming apocalyptic scenario that alarmists keep pushing just like 2012 Mayan apocalypse isn’t going to happen and y2k didn’t lead to worldwide financial collapse.

    People fear mongering over climate change are just trying to take advantage of one of our most primal hard wired feelings, the fear of an uncertain future, for political gain.

  • I welcome alternative points of view here, so of course, if you want to post, that’s perfectly okay with me. All I ask anyone is to be civil, polite, and rational.

    Nonetheless, I am still disturbed by your willingness to excuse violence in the name of policy.

  • Phil Berardelli

    A comment on the run during a busy morning. Re: Paul Lake: Let’s take CO2 for a moment. If I understand you, you’re presenting a change from 250 (pre-industrial) to 392 (present) ppm as massive. But it’s a common misperception. For comparison, what would the CO2 content be if it constituted 1 percent of the atmosphere? The answer is 10,000 ppm. So the change pre-industrial to present represents 15 thousandths of a percent. Now consider that over the same period of time solar intensity has increased by approximately 0.5 percent. Yes, apply Occam’s Razor. The result is that solar activity is largely responsible for the change in global temperatures over the past couple of centuries.

    I put my trust in science, too. During the 15 years that I covered climate, I heard two distinct lines of thought. The modelers continually told me, confidently, that their data showed warming, unequivocally. But the observationalists — the people whose job it was to collect the data, year by year — told me something else: in effect, they didn’t see it happening.

    Here’s a suggestion: Wait five or so more years before making up your mind. Solar activity is plunging, possibly into a new Maunder Minimum. If so, and if the temperature flatlining continues, then you’ve got your answer.

  • Rene Borbon

    Paul, I notice you leave out any mention of the Sun in your half-baked (pun intended) analysis, as typical, putting up trace amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere as your argument, as if the climate can be explained in a single variable of trace gases. Using your figures, a net increase of 141 ppm in 1,000,000 parts per million (0.000001%) is causing the planet to overheat? The burden of proof is on those that make the extraordinary claims. The reason why the IPCC has such long winded and tortuous explanations is because they have to talk all around Occam’s Razor, ignoring the Sun’s variability in output as the single most simple explanation.

    I’ve got a rhetorical question for you Paul: What caused the ice sheets covering North America, Europe, and Asia during the last ice age, to melt, which resulted in the end of the last ice age, approximately 20,000 years ago? Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon SUVs and factories?

  • Jim

    So, if its OK to leak a preliminary draft of a report that is not due out til September of next year (and which will still undergo changes), and the fact that we quote it means that it has cogent points to make, lets add what else it says in its conclusion:

    “There is consistent evidence from observations of a net energy uptake of the earth system due to an imbalance in the energy budget. It is virtually certain that this is caused by human activities, primarily by the increase in CO2 concentrations. There is very high confidence that natural forcing contributes only a small fraction to this imbalance.”

    “Virtual Certainty” means 99% confidence in that conclusion, up from the 90% confidence it had in 2007, meaning all the research in the last 5 years has only supported this view. And this is what the author of the chapter in question (Steve Sherwood, Co-Director of the Climate Change Research Center) says about the leak:

    “If they can look at a short section of a report and walk away believing it says the opposite of what it actually says, and if this spin can be uncritically echoed by very influential blogs like WattsUp, imagine how wildly they are misinterpreting the scientific evidence. This should open people’s eyes as to the credibility of the alternative ‘views’ they are serving up.”

    Best not to be selective.

  • Your quote above is not data, but an opinion based upon data. What I posted was the data itself. I prefer to favor the data.

  • Jim

    Fair enough. I am referring to the link you cite from WattsUp which states “contains game-changing admission of enhanced solar forcing.” It does no such thing. The game was not changed, since they say there are many factor which effect climate, and have said so in the past. They still conclude that the driver is man-made CO2 emissions.

  • Rene Borbon

    Ah, statistics and uncertainty of 99% confidence.

    I have yet to see a clear simple explanation of how ‘natural forcing’ can be excluded. Is ‘natural forcing’ code for the Sun? Why not say the Sun in the text directly?

    Statistics is a process that is involved in the collection, organization, and interpretation, and presentation of data. The key weakness of statistics is the human scientists own bias. For example, when in a casino, people do not typically behave rationally even though the house is generally known to have the statistical advantage. Same is true with science.

    I can ask you a simple question like what caused the ice sheets to melt in the last ice age and you respond with current statistics about trace gases. See the disconnect?

    I can go out and collect statistics on just about any conclusion I have and present them as fact, and still be wrong because statistics are not a certainty.

  • Jim

    Thought you would have used this one:

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”

  • Rene Borbon

    Yes, it’s ‘best not to be selective’ – using your words, let’s have discussion of the last 30 years and the last 30,000 years of climate data.

    The last 10+ years have shown next to no warming, while the Sun’s activity has gone into decline – yet trace gas CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere has continued to increase. See the disconnect?

    30,000 years ago, the Earth warmed, but not for reasons having to do with man made CO2.

    The point Mr. Zimmerman is making is that the IPCC models and reality have diverged. What actually happened is that the climate has been cooler than the models predicted. Therefore, their models are seriously flawed and natural forcing (the Sun?) must be considered (best not to be selective) as a potential influence on the Earth’s climate change.

  • I saw that discussion on the issue of solar forcing on WattsUp and thought they were forcing the issue slightly. This new IPCC report appears to be a bit bi-polar on this issue. On one hand the report appears to continue to discount the possibility that the Sun might be a major factor in climate change, and on the other hand the report also includes a number of sections that seem to take that possibility much more seriously than in the past.

    As I like to say, the uncertainty of science.

  • Jim

    No doubt. Twain certainly agrees with your belief in the uncertainty of science. The graph you post is indeed interesting, but I did go to the leaked IPCC report (and the graph you post is indeed there) and in section 1.3.1 they try to explain it, but quite honestly you need a PhD in statistics to understand it. Alas, not me. But I would also suggest two recent studies that claim the IPCC models have been accurate. One is mentioned in Nature, from Frame and Stone:

    And the other from Stefan Rahmstorf

    However, we will see I guess when the final report comes out.

  • Jim

    Indeed, man-made warming did not cause the ice sheets to melt thousands of years ago. Point of agreement! Could have been ocean current shift, wind pattern shift, who knows. But if your beliefs are hinged on that, and you won’t change til there is some agreement as to what occurs today with what which occurred thousands of years ago, well then you will never change your opinion. Maybe if science could definitively say it was ocean current shift then (and they never will be able to), and we have no ocean current shift today, that would convince you. But I don’t think so.

    So I have no answer for you. As far as the models and reality diverging, see my post above to Bob. Two recent studies say they have not diverged, and are remarkably in agreement. And those studies do account for natural variability.

  • Rene Borbon

    Hello Jim, my belief does not hinge on the prehistoric warming from the last ice age (20,000 years ago?) but rather on healthy skepticism since so many people are rushing to make hundreds of billions of dollars on something that is not settled science.

    My disbelief hinges on the fact that I’m not confronted with the burden of disproving a theory of global warming. The burden of proving man made global warming remains solely on the those making an extraordinary claim.

    I merely point out that a single variable of trace gas in the atmosphere cannot be the only answer to a climate that has changed and changed long before we had man and civilization, much less industrialization.

    Even Carl Sagan suggested, in Cosmos (episode 4), that the Earth may be cooling and then later revised his tune to say the Earth may be warming. I’d say there is a lot of uncertainty even today, despite the computer models, the weather cannot accurately be predicted more than 72 hours in advance.


    “In science, the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded. The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof and that science must continue to build its cognitive map of reality without incorporating the extraordinary claim as a new “fact.” Since the true skeptic does not assert a claim, he has no burden to prove anything. He just goes on using the established theories of “conventional science” as usual. But if a critic asserts that there is evidence for disproof, that he has a negative hypothesis—saying, for instance, that a seeming psi result was actually due to an artifact—he is making a claim and therefore also has to bear a burden of proof.”

    — Marcello Truzzi

  • Jim

    Fair enough! I might suggest then that it is a good idea to at times be skeptical about the skepticism. But anyway, we keep trying!
    Have a great holiday season and stay warm…pun intended!!

  • Paul Lake

    You seem perplexed that a trace gas like can have profound consequences for our atmosphere. Sure it’s a trace gas, but it seems pretty important to plants.

    It is a fact… CO2 is a significant greenhouse gas. I know, I know… it’s a trace gas, but it’s a good thing it’s a trace gas because otherwise we would end up like the planet Venus.

  • Paul,

    You should be aware that the water in the atmosphere is a far more important greenhouse gas than CO2, and actually warms the atmosphere significantly. If it wasn’t there, the Earth’s climate would be significantly colder, so much so that life itself might not exist. Meanwhile, in terms of global warming, carbon dioxide is actually a trace gas that has very little influence on the climate.

    This is the essential scientific problem that climate scientists have been struggling with for the past twenty years: How can this trace gas cause global warming? The global warming scientists have theorized that the increase in CO2 and the minor amount of extra heat it captures will, to use their term, feedback and cause more important atmospheric components, such as water, to also store heat. It is this feedback that will cause global warming, not CO2 by itself.

    The problem is that this feedback theory is unproven, and more importantly, the recent facts suggest it doesn’t work. If it was working, the models put forth by the IPCC (and shown on the posted graph) would show a better match to reality. Instead, they do not. The increase in CO2 over the past three decades has not produced the temperature increase as predicted. There is something significantly faulty to this theory, suggesting strongly that there must be other factors, not yet understood, that contribute to the climate, such as the Sun and possibly cosmic rays (believe it or not).

    Until we get a better handle on this very difficult scientific problem, it is foolish to go off half-cocked, making laws, restricting freedom, and squelching human innovation. In our ignorance, we might actually be doing the climate harm without knowing it.

    And that is basically what most climate skeptics have been trying to say for the past two decades.

  • Rene Borbon

    Back when I lived in California, the state began to require Critical Thinking and Logic courses of all college graduates because the university system there was turning out hundreds of thousands of graduates who couldn’t think for themselves. These graduates had a tendency to go with the flow, not question extraordinary claims, and generally impaired the ability of organizations to break out of group think.

    One problem I have with climate alarmists is that there is a call mobilize people into action before what is actionable is defined correctly. I think that one of the attractions of this movement, is to try and give people a sense that we all need to act collectively to save the planet. That the fossil fuel industry and our way of life is evil. Many people like to feel a sense of belonging, community, and sense of purpose in a movement. They desperately are seeking leadership. I suggest these people are following false prophets, these scientist-priests, many of which are making a lot of money off this cottage industry.

    Someday, there may be conclusive evidence that succinctly explains man made climate change is real and that we need to take action. But I have not seen that evidence to my satisfaction. I soberly realize that our life spans are much too short to judge this afternoon’s or even this decade’s weather or even the weather during my life span as being above trend in the view of millions and billions of years of Earth’s climate.

    I believe we can all agree that the Earth’s climate has changed radically during different eras, without man made causes, but perhaps it is our modern arrogance to assume that the Earth’s climate must remain stagnant to meet some idyllic pre-industrial climate, perfect for man to live on this planet forever.

    And I, for one, do endorse the development of solar and alternative energy policies, to preserve our fossil fuels, develop a better future, and reduce our dependency on this source of energy (and Arab oil, from which petrodollars are used to fund terrorism). I however do not endorse dumping all of our modern world and its energy sources wholesale, on the basis of questionable research papers on an extraordinary claim the Earth might be warming due to a trace gas that is beneficial for plant life and all life on Earth.

    To say the Earth is in danger of becoming Venus in the future, due to tailpipe emissions, is an alarmist unsubstantiated position, a form of demagoguery from my view. And that object to on the basis of playing to people’s fears.

    And so, I say to you my friends, let’s toss off these superstitious claims that we need to follow these climate priests, these conquistadors searching for this climate Cibola, let’s remain on the sidelines of caution, before we throw away 250+ years of progress, before we decide to live in cold, dark cities, in want of energy for transportation, to live in want of freedom of mobility, to live in the poverty of solar cells and geothermal energy that does not presently meet our needs. Skepticism yes, foolishness no.

    And let’s keep the dialogue civil because I think by doing that we will come to agreement of what the truth really is, together, rather than succumb to the current holy wars of the left and the right.


  • Jim

    You are right about keeping the dialog civil…some of my earliest posts on this blog were confrontational, which was silly then and silly now. No more from me. At the end of the day I know Jim is not convincing anyone…the best I can do is offer the other side.

    I think you are underestimating and discounting the other side, though. You seem to think it consists mainly of “followers” with lack of critical thinking skills. Remember this…all of us on the other side were once skeptics as well. All of us (guess Bill McKibben was not, but most of the rest of us are johnny-come-latelys) were skeptical but have since changed our opinion. If you think that was done through poor critical analysis, I think you unfairly categorize us. It is not like we have no scientific support and opinion on our side. In fact, I daresay we have the clear majority of scientific opinion on our side. But maybe you think those organizations and scientists possess few critical thinking skills…I do not.

    And I also think you are mistaken in what steps the other side is calling for. No one is suggesting that it is even possible to be free of fossil fuels anytime soon. The majority of us think that it is just imperative to begin weaning ourselves away from those fuels as the primary sources of our energy, and that it is important to begin that process now. And that process is going to take some time. No one is calling for the end of civilization as we know it.

    But understand this, Renee. Many of us, me included, believe that the time is running out, and that steps need to be taken now. From what I can tell, most climate scientists are sounding the warning. A post here a week ago talked about how holding temperature rise to 2 degrees C was now gone, and we are looking at 4 degrees C. I posted a link from PricewaterhouseCoopers saying it will probably be 6 degrees C. And as a conservative, I can tell you that the one thing that made this country great, along with the genius of the founding fathers, was the natural resources and climate we have enjoyed. I (my opinion here) believe it is extremely reckless to risk those resources and climate. And I believe that is what we are doing when we ignore climate change that we have some influence over.

    You say someday there may be conclusive evidence…some of us believe that the evidence thus far presented is indeed conclusive. You do not…so be it. The best we can do is to keep talking without insults. Hopefully you and I have done that…I think we have.

  • Jim

    Just saw I misspelled you name. Sorry, Rene.

  • Jim, well we seem to agree that the development of alternatives to oil and coal are good. Regardless of the climate.

    I certainly do not mean to insult thinking people but merely to challenge their paradigm. the dominant paradigm has been that the Earth is warming due to fossil fuels. Many people, including scientists disagree, despite Al Gore’s sweeping claim that there is consensus.

    So, let us sharpen our pencils and thinking to watch what happens, work for a future world where an alternative energy source does not harm the environment.



  • Meanwhile, the longest coldest period in more than 70 years strikes Russia:


  • Jim

    Indeed…climate change.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *