Maxeiner, Miersch And Magdeburg: Superstitious Spiegel Devolves To The Dark Ages, Blames Floods On “Deniers”

When the Little Ice Age brought widespread crop failures, mass starvation, and disease in populated Europe some centuries ago, the enlightened ones blamed the climate-related misery and misfortune on the black magic of sorcerers and witches – who were promptly tried and burned at the stake. In other cultures, people performed rain-dances, human sacrifices, or other bizarre rituals, all in a futile attempt to appease the weather gods. Of course the victims of these rituals were often political opponents.

Today nothing has changed apparently, as Spiegel poignantly demonstrates with its latest online round of hysterics titled: Flut-Drama in Deutschland: Wir sind schuldig!  In English: Flood Drama in Germany: We’re to Blame! by Jakob Augstein.

According to Augstein, today’s German flooding is a result of man’s sins against the climate. Climate deniers are mostly to blame for the “Katastrophe“. He writes:

High water of the century is rolling across southern and eastern Germany. Now is an opportunity to take the deniers of climate change for a tour of the dikes, and to take the preachers of growth to Magdeburg. But they would just say they are not to blame. And we would all agree!”

If you thought Augstein sounded like some zealot inquisitor from the Dark Ages who zealously prosecuted at witch trials, you wouldn’t be far off. His hysterical language and mindset are the same. In publishing his ridiculous commentary, Spiegel looks like it is stuck in the Dark Ages. Little wonder that renowned astrophysicists like Murry Salby are calling climate science a “cult science“.

In describing the flooding disaster in his commentary, it’s clear for Augstein:  “Our way of living is not coming without a price.”

He adds:

The question is: What proof do the climate change deniers need before they open their eyes? What is it going to take to get the preachers of growth to learn?

Like during the Dark Ages, weather misfortunes are proof enough for the high priests and witch-trial seeking prosecutors like Augstein. Who needs scientific data when we have Maxeiner, Miersch and Magdeburg?

Today modern climate statistics show that hurricanes/accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) are near lows, tornadoes show no trend, and global temperature has been flat 15 years. Worse, ALL the crystal ball warming projections of the “renowned” scientists have been completely wrong from the start.

73-models-vs-obs Roy Spencer

All 73 models got it completely wrong. Source:

Yet, Spiegel thinks we should just ignore all the hard data and simply accept a single spring flood as a “moment of clairvoyance“.

In his tirade, Augstein singles out pro-growth economics professor Karl-Heinz Paqué, who he says is to be thanked for making sure the Enquete Commission Report to the German government of last week became a “document of failure“. He goes after skeptic journalists Michael Miersch and Dirk Maxeiner for discrediting the results of climate science in the “right-wing corner” of a leading daily, saying that the German government was correct in singling them out and slandering them as infidels.

Augstein sees little hope that people will adopt the green religion (good news!) and warns us by bringing up the downfall of earlier human civilizations.

Those who follow old ways under new living conditions will end up extinct. That’s what did in the people of Easter Island, the Vikings in Greenland, and the Mayans. We should not be surprised if we are next.”

Ironically, all of those earlier civilizations perished because of natural climate change, and for some extinction came because they tried to solve their climate problems precisely with neurotic rituals like human sacrifices, and rain-dancing. Today Augstein and Spiegel are advocating we do the same, but with different rituals: changing light bulbs, going by foot and buying locally. Ask the people whose homes were flooded in Magdeburg if their energy saving lights, carbon credits and buying locally kept the waters back. Human rituals, no matter how righteously and ceremoniously carried out, aren’t going to control the weather.

Science is not about accepting what “renowned” scientists insist we believe, and not daring to question their authority. To the contrary, it is precisely about not accepting what they insist we believe, and it is about scrutinising and putting what they tell us to rigorous test. Anything else is just the superstition of fools, which belongs to the dustbin of history – to join the Dark Ages, witch-hunters, and Augstein.


27 responses to “Maxeiner, Miersch And Magdeburg: Superstitious Spiegel Devolves To The Dark Ages, Blames Floods On “Deniers””

  1. John Shade

    Nicely put. There is an apparent flaw in human nature that leads to vulnerable people like Augstein being both over-alarmed by talk of threats and over-anxious to blame someone for anything ‘bad’ that seems to be associated with them. It is a kind of hysteria.

  2. Mindert Eiting

    You are not an anthropologist, Pierre. This is not hysteria but the cargo cult mindset. What a wealth that we can study this on the spot. Try to understand Augstein’s mind. He must think that the downfall of earlier human civilizations was not prevented by their rituals. Therefore, he must have a better ritual. The first part of it consists of bringing the skeptics to the dikes and Magdeburg. Please, can you follow for us der Spiegel about what’s next?

    1. Harry Dale Huffman

      The “ritual” you want to understand–starting with “bringing the skeptics to the dikes”–is just that of, “we need to communicate the settled science better, that’s all”. The “ritual” is not allowing anything to make him question his belief that the science is settled. In his mind, bringing the skeptics to the dikes will better communicate what he believes is the settled science. It is tantamount to a witch doctor saying, “look, I’ve been sticking this doll representing Johannes here with pins, for twenty years or more now. Now look at him, he woke up with a bad headache this morning, and thinks he might be dying! I did that to him! And here’s the very pin I used!”

  3. DirkH
    Augstein is the son of that Ur Augstein Spiegel founder. Augstein the younger is 45, studied PolSci, theatre sciences (yes that’s what’s it called in German), and German studies.

    In other words, he does not know the scientific method, Popper, Kuhn, Voltaire, Willam of Occam, or ANYTHING like that. He is arguing from a romanticist viewpoint, the mother of German ecologism, Wandervogel, and the Green party.

    1. DirkH

      The article is funny. He gets all doom & gloomy about the floods. I have yet to hear about a single death attributed to the floods. Probably here and there some accident might have appeared and surely some economic damage has occured. But Augstein The Younger makes it sound as if our civilisation is being wiped out, cites Jared Diamond’s collapse and all (Noteworthy, Jared Diamond ignores natural climate change in the book, blames past collapses mostly on peoples mistakes, not on simple natural climate changes. The book is basically wrong from start to finish for this reason.)

  4. Niek Rodenburg

    In stead of spending more than 100 billion Euro’s to subsidize windmills the German gouvernment should have spend these billions to build dikes along the rivers.
    So, who’s to blame?

    That’s the reason why there are not so many windmills to generate electricity in the Netherlands.
    But at least we have the dikes!

    1. Tom Phillips

      You are spot on. Whether the climate is changing or not can be argued for the next 50 years. In the meantime some investment in flood defences would not go amiss.

      If only some of the billions spent on subsidising the wrong technology were put into developing clean energy that would work without an ongoing subsidy. An 8kWp sized solar panel with battery storage at $1,000 cost would cover the home energy requirements of most people, reduce the requirement for expensive infrastructure and give a good return on the investment. At the moment this would cost 30-40 times that amount.

  5. John Shade

    I agree with Mindert Eiting – we have a marvellous opportunity to study the phenomenon of this alarm. As he says, we ‘can study it on the spot’. I hope people from a wide range of disciplines are doing just that.

    It seems to me that just about the only good thing that could come from this disgraceful period in science, politics, and journalism, is some improved understanding of how it happened. How did such the weakly-supported hyptothesis as CAGW (asserting as it does a major role for anthropogenic CO2 in the climate system) become so influential over the past three decades?

    Insight from that could surely help reduce future losses by helping us find ways to reduce the scaremongering, and to avoid something like it happening again at least in the near future.

    1. DirkH

      Club Of Rome, Limits To Growth; Rio 1972, where the UN’s Maurice Strong started using NGOs as shocktroops; the 1975 Endangered Atmosphere conference at Stanford, where the method was refined and CO2 identified as the optimal scapegoat – as it allows to demand control over all combustion processes, how convinient indeed.

      Planned from the start to gain control over as much of the globe’s population as possible.

      Augstein the younger probably doesn’t even know all that, he sounds like a True Believer; people like him are the Useful Idiots of the agenda of the Globalists.

      1. John Shade

        Strong et al. needed scientists and computer models if they were to repeat the impact of ‘Limits to Growth’. Here is a theory as to how they got some of them:

        Strong Attractors

        Victim Strong Attractor
        British physicist Sexual bliss with Argentinian beauty
        British physicist Spiritual bliss spreading Christianity
        American physicist Walter Mitty bliss as gifted scientist
        American physicist Super Hero bliss on the mass media

        Exercise for the reader: assign these names appropriately in the above table: X, Houghton, Mann, Hansen. To help you get started, information on X can be found here:

        1. DirkH

          Poor idiot. Thanks for sharing.

        2. John Shade

          All layout lost in the above comment! ‘Victim’ and ‘Strong Attractor’ are separate headings. Beneath the first are the 4 physicists, and the remaining phrases are beneath the second.

  6. Ulrich Elkmann

    Or maybe Augstein Jr, might harbor a personal animus against Miersch & Maxeiner, so closely associated with the liberal (in the European sense of the word, NOT the American one) weblog Die Achse des Guten and German publicist Henryk M. Broder? His columns in SpOn did, after all, earn him a place of (dis)honour last year from the Simon Wiesenthal Center:
    “The Wiesenthal Center included a top German publisher on its 2012 list of leading anti-Semites … Number nine on the list (PDF), however, has caused many in Germany to scratch their heads. It is Jakob Augstein, the editor of the weekly paper Der Freitag and a columnist for SPIEGEL ONLINE (whose editorials are occasionally translated for publication in English). ” (Since this is from the Spiegel Online site, it is an unabashed apologia for this “top German publisher.”) (BTW: They has me scratching my head, too. Given the vituperativeness & willful ignorance of his slanders, J.A. should have finished among the first three.)

  7. Willy Wacker

    Jakob Augstein is a total clown. If he wouldn’t have been mistaken for old Augstein’s son (he even isn’t :-)), nobody would let him write anything in a famous blog. He is just embarrasinlgy stupid.

  8. Joe

    “Superstitious Spiegel Blames Floods On “Deniers”
    Sorry, I usually keep a good grip on my super-power brain waves.

  9. Juergen Uhlemann

    I wonder if Augstein Jr, reads all the 700 comments. One is from me.

    I pointed out the St. Mary Magdalene’s flood in July 1432. This flood was also mentioned by an expert in one show on the TV channel ZDF.

    We don’t know too much about it, but all major rivers are mentioned. Considering that rivers were more or less in their natural form and the water could go anywhere, the water should not reach a high height. It is said that the water reached the hip of a man at the Cathedral of Mainz and I believe the Cathedral is about 10m over the level of the river Rhine. Just imagine it.

  10. m e wood

    Sorry the Little Ice Age is not dated to the Dark Ages.

    The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period (Medieval Climate Optimum).[1] While it was not a true ice age, the term was introduced into the scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939.[2] It has been conventionally defined as a period extending from the 16th to the 19th centuries,[3][4][5] or alternatively, from about 1350 to about 1850,[
    The big cold period that we do know of in the Dark Ages was noted in the literature of the period because of the freezing of the Rhine. There is a belief that ‘germanic’tribes crossed to the western side. There was a very cold period it seems for a long time. from proxy data. and what records have survived from various similar invasions qv.

    1. Juergen Uhlemann

      Sorry, you mean “Dark Ages was noted in the literature of the period because of the freezing of the Rhine” and I mean “freezing of the Rhine”.
      Then I grew up in the Dark Ages, as the river Rhine froze over in the 60’s and I mean, about 50 years ago.

  11. Billy Liar

    It flooded because it was the ski season of the century.

  12. John Howard

    The first priority of most humans is to get attention. Some amateurs do it by raising alarms. Some professionals do it by publishing those alarms in magazines. It worked for Augstein & Spiegel. I doubt either would last two minutes in an honest technical debate on the subject. I doubt either would get caught in such a debate. They have what they want: lots of attention.

  13. Physics-of-Climate

    The statement “Heat transfer depends on difference in temperatures” is indeed correct in a horizontal plane, and also for radiation in all directions. Heat transfer is always a one-way process. In the case of radiation, thermal energy is converted into electromagnetic energy as the source emits the radiation. Then, at the target, some or all of the radiation will resonate and be immediately re-emitted without its EM energy being converted to thermal energy. If the target were at zero (0) K then all the EM energy would be converted to thermal energy in the target with no re-emission because the target is at 0K. At higher temperatures that are cooler than the source, some of the EM energy is converted to thermal energy in the target, and so we have a heat transfer from hot to cold.

    However, in a gravitational field, in a vertical plane, there is a state of thermodynamic equilibrium in which there is a temperature gradient but no heat flow either way, for the very reason that it is in thermodynamic equilibrium. If the equilibrium is disturbed, energy will flow in all accessible directions away from the source of new energy.

    This explains how thermal energy can indeed flow up the temperature gradient towards the surface of a planet by non-radiative processes. Radiation cannot achieve this, and so it is not radiation which is heating the Venus surface, or the depths of the atmospheres of Uranus and other planets. And the process contributes to the energy build up at Earth’s surface which then supports the surface temperature.

  14. Stefan v

    Old Chinese Proverb: Man who build on floodplain and then complain feet wet is idiot. Tie big rock to idiot neck, safest end to problem.

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