[ExI] Existential hysteria

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Fri Jul 25 08:57:10 UTC 2014

On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 7:13 AM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:

> It might be a Tetlockian sacred value: to libertarians freedom is
> essentially the only sacred thing that must not be traded for anything
> secular.

### Can't speak for other libertarians but for me the reason I became a
climate realist was pure outrage at lying, not fear for liberty.

Back in the 90s I provisionally accepted the warmist story, since I do take
science seriously and I didn't know enough to form an informed opinion.
Then Science Daily published a post summarizing the Jasper Ridge studies on
the influence of carbon dioxide on plant growth, claiming that CO2
*reduces* plant growth by 40%. Huh? That really surprised me, so I read the
original article in Science and that got me f..ing angry. Turns out the
data showed increases in plant growth of 40 to 80% with CO2 compared to
baseline controls - only if you selectively compared some CO2 conditions to
other investigated conditions (added water, added nitrogen, increased
temperature) was there a reduction - basically, pouring water, nitrogen
*and* CO2 on plants made them growth less well than with water or CO2 alone
(but still more than the baseline condition i.e. today's climate). The
dirty rotten liars didn't fudge the data but they bent over backwards to
completely invert the meaning of their findings in their editorial.

As a nerd I have a special hate for anybody who lies to me. Power plays and
general assholery are a part of life, and I am amiable enough to live with
it, but lying just pisses me off. So I went to the trouble of reading more
and more about warmism and the more I read the more pissed off I got: the
Yamal trees, inverted warves, and the fudged CO2-temperature geological
timeline graph were just the beginning. I had to conclude that there was a
fundamental corruption of the scientific process in climate science and
essentially nothing that they say can be trusted (except if it contradicts
warmism). This happened before: Lysenkoism in Russia is just one example,
relevant because of the similarity of mechanism. Just as with climate
science in the US, the field of genetics in Russia found itself subverted
by an outside bureaucratic force, destroying actual scientists and
replacing them with apparatchiks.

So yes, I did get emotional about climate but for non-libertarian reasons.


> Most other views have different sacred values, and do not usually place
> freedom in that category. So they are OK with trading some forms of freedom
> for other things, like better clima te. But this is as outrageous to a
> libertarian as putting an explicit dollar value on human lives is to most
> people (to them human lives are sacred values that must not be traded for
> secular money value). End result: various psychological mechanisms erupt
> and people behave irrationally.

### Maybe it's just the common human desire to feel exceptional but from
what I am reading about the psychology of libertarians, especially the
Bayesian libertarians that Tetlock investigated, we are unusually
sacrilegious. We are the bullet biters in ethical decision making tests, we
are extreme systematizers, following rules to their logical conclusions.
This form of libertarianism is a bit like psychopathy, little influenced by
revulsion or empathy, but it differs from psychopathy by being too detached
to yearn for dominance or to be machiavellian. And most libertarians I know
have very low time preference, another difference from psychopaths.
Libertarianism is cold and neither good nor evil. Of course, nice people
who happen to be libertarians are still very nice (yes, I mean you,
Anders), they just don't let goodness stand in the way of truth and see
truth as the pathway to goodness.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20140725/3a9f8fde/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list