Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Scientific Consensus

I really don't like having two negative posts in a row, but I just found an interesting series of articles on "The Deniers" - a perjorative term used to describe scientists who question the cause, effects, and science behind the generally accepted catastrophic anthropogenic global warming crisis. ("Denier" is also a term used for those who deny that the Holocaust occured.)

After I was prompted to watch Al Gore's recent speech at the TED Talks, I was shocked by his blanket statements about scientific consensus and call for all of us to not only "change the lightbulbs, but change the laws". It seems Mr. Gore is now rounding third and heading for home (if I may use a baseball metaphor - and I may - it's my blog) in his quest to run the world.

The science is far from settled. Research is good. Premature preventative governmental interference is bad.


C. August said...

My blood boils like the Arctic Ocean when I hear someone use the term "Global Warming Denier". Holy moly, that's such a disgustingly loaded and deceptive phrase.

Thanks for the link to "The Deniers Series". I'll definitely be reading it in the coming weeks. The following quote from the intro to the series got me thinking about your "Al Gore wants to rule the world" statement:

Certainly there is no consensus at the very top echelons of scientists -- the ranks from which I have been drawing my subjects... Not only do most of my interviewees either discount or disparage the conventional wisdom as represented by the IPCC, many say their peers generally consider it to have little or no credibility. In one case, a top scientist told me that, to his knowledge, no respected scientist in his field accepts the IPCC position.

I'm not surprised this is the case, and it corroborates other things I have read. Accepting this as true, it really highlights the fact that the green movement is not a scientific one at all.

It is an anti-human life movement, co-opting aspects of scientific credibility to further its altruistic ends. Al Gore is the figurehead for the movement, and a political figure who saw decades ago that he could use it to 1) further his lust for power, and 2) carry out what appears to be a maniacal thirst to destroy the good in the world.

Manoj Padki said...


Your issue is with the global warming part or the anthropogenic part? From the pictures I have seen of receding glaciers and vanished mountain lakes, the former seems to be the case. I am not so sure about the latter.

I do agree with you about the anti-human aspects of the environmental movement, but that does not mean that they are necessarily wrong about global warming.

My personal solution is that I will do what I can to use less fossil fuels and become a net energy producer (eventually). But I am basically saying that we build on the market mechanism we have to create "non-anti-human" solution - such as tax and cap-&-trade. (Reason magazine has a good debate about this very issue:

- manoj

- manoj

LB said...

My issue is with the blind drive to bind the productivity of man to half-baked solutions of government when there is no evidence 1) that an increase in greenhouse gasses has caused global warming; 2) that the warming of the globe is anything but cyclical; 3) that the effects of the warming cycle will be catastrophic; 4) that such proposed binding will have any impact on that cycle. What I do know is that whenever there is a political push to have the government do anything but protect the individual rights of man it is no longer a proper function of government.

Tax, cap and trade is a system of indulgences. This may have been good enough to get you into heaven according to the Catholic Church in the 16th century, but it should be transparent to those of us in the 21st century as the pure attempt to revive socialism that it is.

Using fuels more efficiently and developing different sources of energy just make sense due to increasing costs of production and our ever increasing energy demands. The market takes care of this. Mandating these things based on shoddy science and the easy development of a collective cultural guilt is wrong.

I'm surprised that you not see environmentalism as the green brand of socialism it is.

Manoj Padki said...

"I'm surprised that you not see environmentalism as the green brand of socialism it is."

But I do! OTOH I know of plenty of free-market environmentalists (who want to see humanity's natural heritage preserved *with the help of* market mechanisms). There is no one brand of environmentalism.

This issue has many dimensions than the single dimension of market versus not. There is the issue of abuse of the commons (such as coral reefs), which are being destroyed because the market does not assign them the economic value that they deliver (in terms of maintaining species diversity and avoiding ecosystem collapse). There are some domains where markets are just not feasible to set up (air being the prime example).

- manoj

LB said...

First, what is OTOH? I'm AC (acronymically challenged).

Secondly, how can the reefs deliver an economic value if the market won't assign them one? Economic value to whom? Is it possible that you and the market disagree on its importance?

Truthfully, I have often found it difficult with large systems to stick with thinking that property rights will take care of everything, but I really have to. With objective laws, property rights and the ability to prove demonstrable harm would take care of the air, water, reef, etc.

Environmentalism: Advocacy for or work toward protecting the natural environment from destruction or pollution.

Ecology: a. The science of the relationships between organisms and their environments. Also called bionomics.
b. The relationship between organisms and their environment.