Berkeley’s David Romps is a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science (“Join us! Become a leading expert on climate change”) and faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. I found his performance in response to Steven Koonin’s presentation the state of climate science sponsored by Berkeley’s Nuclear Engineering Department this past Friday to be revealing in its own way.
I thought Romps ought to have a logical fallacy named in his honor. It would be a subset of the ad hominem argument.
In the video of his encounter with Steven Koonin addressing the state of climate science at Berkeley this past Friday (posted here), he seems to me to give off an intense totalitarian vibe. He uses Koonin’s work as a “how-to” guide — how to argue dishonestly. He all but accuses Koonin of lying and all but indicts him of supporting crimes against mankind. His disagreement with Koonin impels him in the direction of humiliation (if only the audience were friendlier to him). The will to power is almost palpable, not just a Nietzschean construct.
Those who subscribe to the dogmas of the climate-change faith speak incessantly of the “existential threat” it presents. The term has become a mind-numbing cliché to beat us into submission. Seeing Professor Romps in action, I infer that he personifies the climate alarmists’ “existential threat” to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
His performance put me in mind of the late teachers’ union president immortalized in Woody Allen’s Sleeper (written with Marshall Brickman). Explaining the postwar dystopian tyranny depicted in the film, Allen’s character is instructed: “According to history, a man named Albert Shanker got ahold of a nuclear warhead.”
And yet Professor Romps is the hero of the story recounted by the New York Post last year in “Berkeley scientist resigns over refusal to invite ‘canceled’ geophysicist.” Rod Dreher saluted him in “The courage of David Romps.” I must be reading him wrong, but the mentality he displays in the video with Koonin represents an “existential threat” of its own, and not one based on a hypothetical projection into a possible future.