[extropy-chat] The great global warming swindle

Chris Hibbert hibbert at mydruthers.com
Wed Apr 4 01:18:28 UTC 2007

> I haven't watched this program yet,
> http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4499562022478442170&q=%22the+great+global+warming+swindle%22

I didn't watch it either.

> 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.

It's also something we have in common here.  This community is focused 
on things that the mainstream doesn't accept: cryonics, nanotech, the 
singularity, transhumanism and so on.  Some of these have become more 
accepted since we started talking about them, but the things that make 
this a community are the things we disagree with the mainstream about.

I think the claim (at least implied) is that we each look at the 
evidence and make up our own minds.  It's not at all surprising that 
many of us have opinions counter to the standard view on other topics. 
What's surprising is that we agree on so many things.

> 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.

It may be far more likely, but there are sometimes reasons to doubt a 
consensus.  I just finished reading Lee Smolin's "The Trouble with 
Physics".  Smolin argues that the pursuit of String Theory, which has 
consumed all of physics for more than 20 years, is an example of 
group-think, which has stifled progress in the field.  In my review
of Smolin, I refer to other examples of fields that have been derailed 
in the way that Smolin charges physics has.  I think the signs of 
group-think are quite visible in people's attitude toward anthropogenic 
climate change.

It's also becoming clearer that the environmental movement would prefer 
to exploit the claims to reduce human progress rather than to find a 
solution.  There may be evidence that something is happening, and that 
it's caused by human action, but the evidence that it's unstoppable or 
worrisome is scant.  And, as engineers, we could fix it if that were the 
goal.  So I don't see a crisis.

In Just-spring when the world is mudluscious
   -- E. E. Cummings

Chris Hibbert
hibbert at mydruthers.com
Blog:   http://pancrit.org
Prediction Market Software:  http://zocalo.sourceforge.net

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