[extropy-chat] The great global warming swindle

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Tue Apr 3 20:54:23 UTC 2007

I haven't watched this program yet,


but as usual I'm bemused by the way so many stories posted on this 
list about anthropogenic planetary heating echo the very small number 
of naysayers. It's much more fun, of course, to be a contrarian. I'm 
one about psi, but it's not as if a very large proportion of those 
who've closely studied the evidence for and against psi cry out that 
it's a swindle (whereas astronomers and demographers who've looked at 
the claims of astrology do). But global warming is the favored model 
of experts in all the relevant fields. As Hal Finney used to argue 
repeatedly before he dropped out of sight: when the majority of 
scientific practitioners agree on X, it's far more likely that X is 
correct (within the limits of available evidence, paradigms, etc) 
than that it's not.

This is quite a different point, of course, from the observation Greg 
Benford makes, that global warming is better approached as a 
difficult set of technical problems for science and technology to 
solve than as a moral outrage requiring wringing of hands and 
pointing of fingers. Although a bit of that doesn't go astray either.

Damien Broderick

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