[Paleopsych] NYTBR: (Posner) 'Catastrophe': Apocalypse When?

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Mon Jan 3 02:16:49 UTC 2005

RE: Catastrophes, have you read State of Fear by Crichton? I know, it 
has all the typical  weaknesses of a Crichton novel, but he effectively 
discounts global warming as a pseudo-fact being pushed by politics and 
not science. So Posner's argument about warming seems to be based on 
this pseudo-science. Crichton demolishes the Kyoto treaty using actual 
peer-reviewed citations in his novel.

The whole idea of putting lots of effort into avoiding an event that 
will not happen is delicious coming from an attorney/judge, since 
lawyers are twisting science (silicone breast implants cause no 
problems; Cerebral palsy is not caused by OBs not doing caesarians) and 
creating imaginary risks (Vioxx is a perfectly good drug when taken with 
some precautions).

More to the point, can we actually estimate probabilities? Five day 
weather predictions are a joke -- the local weather people have been 
predicting huge snowstorms that never materialized -- and so  how can we 
predict whether a particle accelerator can produce a mini-black hole? 
Computer modeling is generally how we get such predictions, and such 
modeling has been 'way off, at least the ones I have seen.


Premise Checker wrote:

> 'Catastrophe': Apocalypse When?
> New York Times Book Review, 5.1.2
> Risk and Response.
> By Richard A. Posner.
> 322 pp. Oxford University Press. $28.
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