Why Anthropogenic Global Warming Isn’t the Real Issue (My Case: Part 3 of 3)

In my last two posts, I first made the case that Anthropogenic CO2 Levels is basically non-controversial and then made the case that our science can’t really connected Global Warming with Anthropogenic CO2 anyhow, even if it’s true. 

Anthropogenic Global Warming Doesn’t Matter After All

I believe Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) isn’t the real issue. The real issue is CO2 emissions. We are putting out unsustainable levels of CO2. I’ll define “unsustainable” as “growing with no chance of cutting back without intervention.”

Now some might argue here that eventually fossil fuels will run out on their own and we’ll cut back naturally. Fair enough. But I hope you see that this is a huge risk well into the realm of “we have no idea what we’re doing to ourselves and are just hoping for the best.” I personally find this unacceptable.

In fact, I find the whole global warming debate unacceptable. We do not need to know if global warming is man-made to know that we need to cut back on CO2 growth and get it under control eventually. So we already have an overwhelming onus to act and act now, even if the ‘action’ is long term only. It simply does not matter if global warming is man-made or not.

The fact is we don’t know what we don’t know. CO2 may have some disastrous effect unrelated to global warming. It might turn the oceans acid or cause termites to become sentient. We just don’t know. But when we know we have an unsustainable circumstance like our growing CO2 levels, it is not the correct moral choice to wait for a problem to show up before we do something about it.

Furthermore, the fact is that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Even if the models are all wrong — off by a factor of 100 let’s say — eventually it’s going to be a problem.

Risk Mitigation

Maybe it’s the fact that I happen to be a Project Manager. In Project Management practices, we have something called “issues,” and something called “risks.”

“Issues” is when some problem has already manifest itself and we need to take action to resolve it. “Risks” is when we foresee a future issues that might cause a problem, so we take mitigating actions to reduce the risk.

Now to be sure, there is not a bold line between those two. Risks and issues are often largely one and the same and the real determining factor as to which is which is what we plan to do about it. If the action we plan is to directly address it, we call it an issue. If it’s to keep something unfortunate from happening, we call it a risk.

So let’s think of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) as a debatable “issue” and Anthropogenic CO2 Levels as a known and agreed upon “risk.”  To know of a risk and to not act on it to mitigate it is considered incompetence in Project Management practice. The fact that often the issue or risk turns out to be not as big a deal as first thought is not considered an excuse for not managing your project environment. [1]

I am proposing that we conservatives stop being incompetent without having to admit we were wrong about AGW. Instead, think of AGW as an example of ‘what might go wrong’ if we don’t mitigate our known risk of AG-CO2. (And will go wrong at some future point if CO2 emissions don’t eventually stop growing, even if it’s far far into the future.)

One thing Project Management has taught me over the years is that you can’t really predict all outcomes, or even most of them. The ones that finally get you are the ones you didn’t predict. So my biggest fear is that we will allow an un-stainable level of CO2 growth to keep running but chose to ignore it merely because ‘there isn’t a current known problem.’ (And here I’m assuming AGW isn’t a current problem, though in fact it might be.) That’s just begging to have some completely unforeseen issue crop up after it’s already too late.

What is the Conservative Position?

For those that might protest that it’s not true conservatives have advocated inaction, I have one question: where is the conservative platform for curbing CO2 growth? Where is our conservative legislation to counter the liberal ones? If it exists at all, it’s surely so understated that I was unable to find it.  

On the other hand, some conservatives have no problem at all admitting that they are advocating neglect. And indeed, for all intents and purposes, I think this is an accurate statement.

Conservatives always phrase things such that they claim if “better information’ were to come forth, they’d change their mind. But, as we’ve seen through this series of posts, they have rather straightforwardly setup a situation whereby the only possible ‘better information’ they will accept is a crisis.

When it really comes down to it, we the public are being given two choices:

1. Take a known issues (CO2 Emissions) and believe a problematic model (though it’s the best we’ve got and probably the best we can do) and therefore create a carbon tax that will likely cause economic diaster in the short run.

2. Do nothing at all. Just ignore the known issues (CO2 Emissions) unless an actual crisis happens. Then try to act on it at this time. In the mean time, have faith it won’t be a problem.

We conservatives have effectively advocated for inaction in the face of a known risk (Anthropogenic CO2 Levels) and so we are guilty in my opinion.

Individually, we all believe we are skeptics, not deniers. We all believe there is some evidence out there that, if it becomes available, will move us to act. Yet the need to act on Anthropogenic CO2 Levels has been there all along, complete with as compeling evidence as is humanly possible — agreement between believers and skeptics. Yet it did not move us to action. Individually, we might be skeptics, but collectively we’ve some how become deniers.

Global Warming Needs to Be Considered Even if It’s Natural

So we already know we have a moral obligation as stewards of the earth to act and act now about CO2 emissions.

But I want you to consider a possibility. What if the global warming skeptics are right that global warming is man-made? What if CO2 is man-made, but global warming is natural?

Why does it matter? Won’t we be just as dead if the earth turns to Venus due to solar flares?

You may personally think this is impossible, but the truth is that the earth has already gone through some horrifyingly bad periods in its history all on it’s own. I wouldn’t personally want to go back to an ice age with a mile of ice over where I currently sit. Nor would I like to live during the time of the dinosaur extinction — whatever it is that killed them off.

Back in this post I gave a quote from AGW Denier Frank Tipler where he admits we really do have to worry abut the earth passing a tipping point and becoming hostile to the existence of life. (Again, basing what I believe on where critics admit to consensus is my strategy.)

So I believe we have an obvious and immediate moral duty to both curb CO2 emissions and also start developing technologies to cool the earth, regardless of whether or not we caused the warming.

Furthermore, underlying all AGW Skeptic arguments lurks an assumption that if the problem isn’t man-made, then the earth will ‘set it to be right’ on its own and we should do nothing. Personally I am unwilling to merely ‘assume’ this to be true. First, there is the afore mentioned quote from Denier Frank Tipler that suggests this assumption isn’t true. Second there is real history that says this isn’t true, i.e. the ice age.

Third, to be blunt, if I’m not going to buy the current climate models of earth’s best scientists – complete with a scientific consensus – then there is no way I’m going to buy an assumption that the earth will correct itself without at least an equivalent ‘counter climate model’ complete with peer review. So true or not, I’m going to assume the self correcting earth to be false for the moment on the grounds that this is the only good policy based on the current information available to me. This is sufficient to me for now.

Conclusions

And this, my friends, is my conservative case for acting now. I ask you all to put your skepticism aside and consider carefully what I am saying. To summarize:

1. We have no idea if global warming is man-made or not

2. It doesn’t matter because, as good stewards of the earth, we need to take care of our growing CO2 regardless

3. The whole man-made vs. natural debate was always and always will be beside the point. We need to be prepared to cool the earth if it gets too hot even if it’s natural. We’re already spending money on this and that’s not going to change anyhow, so let’s spend it wisely.

This is also why I said that my lack of credentials made my uniquely suited to make this argument. It is beyond me to actually try to understand the scientific arguments of environmentalists –- for or against. The idea that we can study it out and figure it out for ourselves is generally just not true. Those that say this are (usually) fooling themselves.

Making decisions on what actions to take should not be contingent upon certainty. I am not certain of much of anything, yet there was still sufficient agreement on certain “facts” to make a determination that prudent action is necessary. We do not need to be experts to be able to figure out that the time to take action is already upon us.

However, the astute reader will realize that a “conservative case to act” does not imply agreement with our liberal/democratic brethren on what actions should be taken. Indeed, I fully disagree with the democratic platform. They are right about the need to act, but wrong about what actions should be taken.

But that is the subject of my follow on posts. I am now going to need to discuss the politics and economics of different proposals, particularly cap-and-trade proposals. But I’m going to give this subject a break for a few weeks before taking it up again since I suspect we’re all AGWed out by now. Then eventually, I’ll make some recommendations (in very general terms of course, I’m no expert) as to the types of proposals I’d like to see come out of conservatives above and beyond doing nothing unless there is a crisis.

Notes

[1] The fact that often the issue or risk turns out to be not as big a deal as first thought is not considered an excuse for not managing your project environment. This is one of the single hardest things for me to emotionally accept as a project manager. I will spend tons of time dealing with issues and risks that will eventually turn out to be non-issues. As a newbie project manager, the argument for ‘waiting to see if it’s a real problem’ seemed strong. I had to learn the hard way not to do this. It turns out that the very act of dealing with an issue up front tends to make the issue go away. It’s not always obvious if my actions removed it or if it just ‘went away on it’s own.’ Indeed, my actions are an integral part of the project and therefore there actually is no such thing as disentangling my actions from the rest of the project.

For example, I may document that a client said they wanted something because I have some doubts that they might change their mind later and then try to argue that the expanded scope was was we originally agreed upon. But I rarely, if ever, have to go back to my documentation and show it to customers. Therefore the argument to not document scope because it’s a waste of time and costs seems very strong based on the evidence that customers never argue about scope.

But this is an illusion. The way you prove it is by not documenting the scope and watching your project fail due to getting bogged down with arguments over scope. Why is this the case? Because the very fact that the customer knows I document things tends to cause them to not make scope arguments in the first place. They are afraid I have it all documented, so they’re afraid to try to argue over the scope with me.

The other problem with a ‘wait and see’ attitude is that you can’t actually predict in advance what issues will kill a project. It is nothing short of amazing how any issue, no matter how innocuous it seems at the time, can kill a project if not addressed. For example, I might forget to put fluffy bunnies on the screen like I was asked and then the owner of the company sees I forgot this and loses all confidence in everything and the project ends up failing due to lack of confidence – even though it’s a 10 minute fix.

It’s also amazing how huge issues that seem like killers often don’t get addressed and nothing happens. For example, you’d think that coming in on time and budget would be the single most important success or failure factor. It’s not. Projects have an uncanny way of missing budgets and schedules and still be successful. But I found out the hard way that this is only true if the customer honestly believes you did your best to make their budget and schedule and it was something outside your control – which implies you have to have made significant and visible efforts upfront to avoid the problem first.

In short, I have become a huge advocate for rigorously managing issues on a project even though it honestly seems like 90% of them could have been neglected and nothing bad would have happened. I feel the same way about the skeptic’s cry that CO2 emissions will probably just go away on it’s own. I seriously doubt that. But I do believe it will go away ‘on it’s own’ if we take it seriously and try to address it. I suspect the very act of trying to address it will change the markets to avert problems. I will explain my point of view on this better in future posts.

I also believe that God only protects those that weren’t neglectful of their stewardship. I do not see only address it if it’s crisis’ as good stewardship management.

47 thoughts on “Why Anthropogenic Global Warming Isn’t the Real Issue (My Case: Part 3 of 3)

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention » Why Anthropogenic Global Warming Isn’t the Real Issue (My Case: Part 3 of 3) The Millennial Star -- Topsy.com

  2. Think about this quantitatively for a moment. Suspend disbelief about the real world politics, and assume that we could have a perfectly implemented global carbon tax. If we introduced a tax high enough to keep atmospheric carbon concentration to no more than 420 ppm (assuming we could get the whole world to go along), we would expect, using the Nordhaus analysis as a reference point, to spend about $14 trillion more than the benefits that we would achieve in the expected case. To put that in context, that is on the order of the annual GDP of the United States of America. That’s a heck of an insurance premium for an event so low-probability that it is literally outside of a probability distribution. Gore has a more aggressive proposal that if implemented through an optimal carbon tax (again, assuming we can get the whole word to go along) would cost more like $20 trillion in excess of benefits in the expected case.

    The sidebar link pretty much puts it straight up.

  3. The diligent caution argument is a strong one. In industrial safety, nothing can be assumed, because though something works out fine 99% of the time, there are dozens of such things that most be relied upon, so without explicit assurance of each of them, sooner or later someone will suffer an avoidable death or maiming.

    But how do we keep from venturing into tinfoil hat territory? We’re extracting trillions of cubic feet of natural gas every year. What’s the earth’s crust going to do without it in place? We’re surrounded by unnatural magnetic fields. What are they doing to the termites?

  4. The problem here is there is no scientifically established risk from carbon dioxide levels in the range we are seeing. None. Zero. Nada.

    To take action at this point (especially expensive action) would be the height of stupidity.

  5. “So I believe we have an obvious and immediate moral duty to both curb CO2 emissions and also…”

    Very obvious. As obvious to me as the need to plug the oil spewing into the gulf.

    “I am proposing that we conservatives stop being incompetent without having to admit we were…”

    yes, but as Mark D. has shown…

    “To take action at this point (especially expensive action) would be the height of stupidity.”

    brace yourself for a whole lotta ugly comin’ at you from a neverending parade of stupid.

  6. Bruce:

    You write, ‘So I believe we have an obvious and immediate moral duty to both curb CO2 emissions and also start developing technologies to cool the earth, regardless of whether or not we caused the warming.’

    What I think you neglected, and what would have been helpful to me, is to explain why we should worry about increased CO2 emissions. You say you have made the case that ‘our science can’t really connected Global Warming with Anthropogenic CO2′. Well, what can we connect it with? In other words what, specifically, do we have to worry about? Is it simply the possibility that it could be bad in some unknown way?

    Second, you say ‘we have an obvious and immediate moral duty to … start developing technologies to cool the earth’. I don’t agree that we have such a duty. I think it’s a common mistake to think that we can manage nature competently. There are many instances of attempts to manage nature on a relatively tiny scale, which had consequences that were completely unintended and unpredictable, because we didn’t understand all the factors that bore on the situation. How much less do we understand all the factors that enter into the climate of the entire earth?

    I think it’s very likely that implementing technologies to control the temperature of the earth (assuming such a thing is possible) would have consequences that are entirely unforeseen, and that there is no better than a 50/50 chance that the end result would be to our benefit. If we’re starting out with a 50/50 chance that things will work out to our benefit on their own, then the enormous expense of the enterprise would seem to be unwarranted.

    But aside from my few criticisms, you did do an excellent job analyzing the issues in a new way. Which helped me to give the subject some fresh consideration, since frankly I had become bored with it and rarely ever gave it a thought any more.

  7. I stumbled upon this article somehow — I really have no idea how, it just appeared on my screen apparently as a result of an accidental series of keystrokes — I don’t know if there was a link to it on this page somewhere.

    Anyway, it turned out to be an excellent (IMHO) article analyzing the risks and costs of various proposed solutions for global warming:

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/critics/75757/why-the-decision-tackle-climate-change-isn%E2%80%99t-simple-al-gore-says?page=0,0

  8. Bruce, I am a definite believer in project management. Bad project management is at the heart of many of our worst governmental and business mistakes. In the case of the Iphone 4, somebody made a huge mistake regarding the antenna, and I bet bad project management played a role. In the case of the oil spill, can you imagine how much better it would have gone if great project managers had had command of the issue from the beginning?

    But the thing about good project management is that you need correct information and a correct assessment of risk from the beginning. This is where I think you are making your mistake. Your initial data inputs are not complete.

    1)CO2 has gone up and down throughout the Earth’s history without human input. Why is this? Why should we be AUTOMATICALLY concerned about it happening now?
    2)Is the increase in CO2 bad? Interestingly, botanists are pretty excited about it because plants love CO2. There has been a lot of talk about increased biodiversity these days.
    3)What are the chances that anything we humans do to decrease CO2 would be successful in actually decreasing CO2 given that much of the CO2 is not manmade?

    There are many, many other inputs that need to be considered, such as “what is the connection between CO2 and the climate?” and “would concentrating on global warming hurt other environmental efforts?”

    These and other inputs are extremely important in analyzing whether the project “save the Earth” is a)necessary or b)has any chance of being successful.

  9. Stan, that is a nice opinion. I don’t suppose you have any actual evidence to back that up.

  10. Bruce,

    Good and impressive work. I learned quite a lot from you, thanks! Enjoy your “time off.” I’ll be looking forward to your next installment in a few weeks.

    Geoff B iPosted,

    In the case of the Iphone 4, somebody made a huge mistake regarding the antenna

    Actually no, they didn’t Geoff. Apple did make some stupid mistakes, and they admitted them. But there is no problem with the antenna. The “antennagate” media extravaganza was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay overblown, as is typical. Because a spectacular “circus of failure” is entertaining and makes money for the news media every single time.

    And no, I don’t own an iPhone. I just eventually learned to look past the media’s over-hyped, five second, feverish sound bites to find out what is really going on.

    Not everything the media tells you is true.

    In fact, a very large percentage of typical news reports are inaccurate in some manner or another. Here’s a homework assignment: the next time the media reports on something you know a great deal about (a hobby or maybe the LDS Church, for example), take a hard look at how many things they got wrong. Then extrapolate that new realization to every other news report about things you don’t know anything about. You should soon realize they most likely got something wrong there too. I mean, after all, reporters aren’t perfect. And if the reporters aren’t perfect, then no one should expect the news to be. I personally just take everything I hear from the media with a very large, 5lb. grain of salt.

    And you probably shouldn’t get me started on Fox News, MSNBC, talk radio, and the other fake news programs. I could rant for quite a while about them. But that would take me even farther off topic… :-D

    As for the rest of the debate on CO2, everyone have fun with it: I’m burned out. So unless someone posts something really stupid or annoying, I’m out of here. :-)

    Have a good week, and take care.

  11. Geoff,

    I just watched the video on the Clear act. This is the ‘type’ of thing I’m looking for. To be honest, it looks way more aggressive than I had in mind. But it’s way better than the current democratic proposals, so I now officially support the Clear act until something better comes along.

    Agellius and Geoff both took up the subject of risk management with good questions. If I might, I think I’m going to quote both of you later (if you have no objections) as the basis for a future post where I can take my time to explain my ideas around ‘risk management’ better. The bottom line is that this is where the real argument lies: is there a sufficient ‘risk’ to start taking mitigation actions? I’m thoroughly disinterested in any other argument at this point. That is why I pretty much ignore any discussion over ‘what’s wrong with the liberal proposal.’ I’m not a liberal and I don’t care.

    Agellius, one more thing: I am NOT advocating doing geo-engineering today. I’m advocating researching it so that if a crisis comes, we are ready to use it. Your discussion around ‘what might go wrong’ is totally and completely correct. Geo-engineering is a last resort sort of measure. It has to be obvious that the alternative is really really bad — like total annihilation.

    Of course, not all geo-engineering is so bad environmentally. Like putting big mirrors in space isn’t going to cause any environmental problems. But the trade off is it’s super expensive and probably requires billion dollar NASA projects.

    But just bear in mind for the moment that I’m only advocating taking money currently going to AGW research any how and putting some of it into Geo-engineering. That’s it for the global warming issue. (Remember, I separate the global warming issue and the CO2 issue.)

    Stan,

    I have to disagree with you about this group. I have not been mistreated here at all so far. I hear you because I have often been mistreated in the past. Conservatives get rather irate with my point of view, I’ve found. But we’re dealing with a pretty open minded group here plus they are letting me take my time to explain rather than force me to try to summarize my point of view. (Summaries and full views are not the same thing, contrary to popular belief.)

    Bookslinger did get rather angry with me and has sometimes been rude to me ever since when I tried to summarize my arguments once in the past. But he has decided to not participate in the discussions. Outside of that incident, I’ve had no problems with this group. Off line, I have massive problems regularly, of course with people being rude to me over my point of view.

  12. “I have to disagree with you about this group.”

    I apologize from my rashness. I agree with your evaluation of the tone here.

  13. Mark D says:

    The problem here is there is no scientifically established risk from carbon dioxide levels in the range we are seeing. None. Zero. Nada.

    To take action at this point (especially expensive action) would be the height of stupidity.

    First, what do you mean by ‘scientifically established?’ Do you mean ‘proven’ by science? If so, then your comment was meaningless because nothing is proven in science.

    On the other hand, if what you meant is that there is no scientific ‘evidence’ of risk from CO2, then you are clearly wrong. We’ve talked about quite a number of scientific ‘evidences’ in favor of the case that there is a real risk with CO2.

    Presumably, what you actually meant was that there is no scientific evidence that you personally have decided to accept of any risk with CO2. But once I’ve stated it correctly, then we immediately realize why your statement is true for you but false for me.

    This is why I wrote my posts about arguments with and without merit. For me personally, I have looked at the arguments in favor of AGW and against and I have realized that the arguments against AGW weaken but do not banish AGW as a possible truth. So I can’t say with any confidence that there is no evidence for risk of CO2 growth.

    (If you feel I missed a critical argument, present it and let’s consider it.)

    You may personally feel the anti-AGW arguments do banish the AGW arguments all together and therefore you may feel your position of 100% certainty is valid. But I’ve looked at the evidence too and I am convinced of nothing either way.

    Not only that: I honestly don’t believe people that are sure of themselves are anything but wrong about their level of certainty being set at 100%. I therefore am distrustful of people that are 100% certain on this issue as having made it into a religion.

  14. James, re: the Iphone 4, yes, many of its problems were exaggerated. Nevertheless, there clearly WERE problems with the antenna, which is why Steve Jobs announced free cases for people as a solution. I don’t own an Iphone and I LOVE Apple as a company, so nothing personal. My point was simply that good project management resolves a lot of problems. I agree with your point on the media.

  15. “(Al) Gore has a . . . proposal . . . ”

    “Not everything the media tells you is true . . . In fact, a very large percentage of typical news reports are inaccurate in some manner or another.”

    “You say you have made the case that ‘our science can’t really connected Global Warming with Anthropogenic CO2′. ”

    These are reasons that have been mentioned just on this site for why I oppose the idea of Global Climate Change. I would mention other reasons, but I just wanted to mention what has already been agreed upon here. At least, no one has refuted them.

  16. Jettboy,
    I would ignore Al Gore, news media and anything else that has been filtered from a scientific source. Get your info from the scientists and their organizations. Pro or con there are several websites with helpful information that is closer to the source. We also have some non-climate scientists within the LDS community with their ear to the ground on climate change. These are the guys who petitioned the Utah legislature to refrain from passing a resolution condemning AGW as a fraud and forbidding the EPA from regulating CO2. I am pro AGW so the sites and scientists I follow generally (as are most scientists!) are pro AGW. Take a look at Jared*’s blog, ‘LDS Science Review’, or S. Faux’s ‘Mormon Insights’ or Steve Peck’s ‘Mormon Organon’ or the physics guys over at ‘The Eternal Universe’. Also take a look at Barry Bickmore’s ‘Anti-Climate Change Extremism’ in Utah. These guys read the scientific literature and they know legitimate or bogus scientific claims. They also have many other fascinating topics. I think I’ve seen you over there already, if so everyone else should be reading these blogs. They are University Professors in scientific fields, they are LDS, they are conservative (well, maybe not Utah conservative =:) and I trust them. Look at Nasa’s AGW web site. These are the guys with the satellites collecting temperature data from the ground all the way into the upper atmosphere! They have all kinds of good stuff there. National Oceanography And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a great website reaching out to the public. It comes down to who you trust. Is it the scientists you trust? Which ones? Why? What do they know about climate science?

    Bruce has done such a fantastic job sharing his journey through a very tough topic. We should all be inspired to make a similar journey and evaluate information, not only from both sides, but from reliable sources on both sides. We can’t evaluate the raw data so we do have to be spoon fed information and opinions. Look very closely at whose information and opinions you accept and valid.

  17. There’s a fatal problem with many/most “solutions” proposed to reduce CO2 emissions I’ve seen floated around. That is that there is no in-grasp alternative to fossil fuels capable of keeping the global energy economy going, and none on the near horizon. Nothing is close to ready to take the place of petroleum-based transportation fuels. The energy density available with battery technologies isn’t yet competitive, and the energy cost of transporting those batteries is non-trivial, nor is the cash and energy cost of transitioning from internal combustion based vehicles to electrically powered vehicles even if there were sufficient materials available to create that many batteries (and there aren’t). This is not a policy failure on anybody’s part — you can’t demand nor expect desired scientific break-throughs to happen on a convenient schedule.

    There is room for some adjustment of lifestyle to reduce our use of fossil fuels, but these are not going to off-set the ramping-up of fossil fuel use by China and India. They’re not going to voluntarily agree to turning away from pursuing first world lifestyles to benefit the global CO2 situation. China doesn’t give a rat’s hind-end about the environment, doesn’t value the opinions of those who do, has a huge military including nuclear weapons, and owns a huge amount of first-world debt. No one is in a position to dictate to China what they should do for the benefit of others — that’s not going to happen.

  18. Geoff B stated,

    Nevertheless, there clearly WERE problems with the antenna, which is why Steve Jobs announced free cases for people as a solution

    Um, nope. You should watch the video. Yeah I know it’s marketing whitewash of course, but Steve does point out the situation behind the problem rather clearly. I also just found this page on Apple’s site. The basic idea is that all smartphones have a similar glitch with their antenna, that’s just the way the laws of physics work and nothing can be done about it. So “antennagate” was a non-issue from the beginning. And so the free cases are a marketing move to get the media nutjobs to shut up. :-)

    Also, Jetboy: Just to be clear, since you quoted my statement, “Not everything the media tells you is true.” That statement cuts both ways. That means that when the media is wrong when they tell you that AGW is true, they are just as wrong when they tell you it’s false. And that axiom is multiplied a hundred percent when you listen to a heavily biased “news” source like Fox News, talk radio or MSNBC. It doesn’t matter which side of the political spectrum the bias is from, if you get your news from an overly biased source, it can’t be trusted to be accurate.

    Listen to Stan’s advice, what he said is very good.

    Ok, back to lurking again…

  19. Blain,
    What you say is very sobering. For now, I would be happy with simply changing minds. If we realize we’re in a heap of trouble and *believe* it, then hopefully we can work on some kind of practical solution. Personally, I think the best thing we can do right now is make a deal with the Chinese. If they replace all their coal fired power plants with nuclear, we’ll forgive all that debt we owe them. =:)

  20. Bruce, as you get into solutions to the AGW “problem”, you may want to look at the worst environmental disasters and consider what causes them. In the case of the BP oil spill, the main causes were government, which placed a cap on liability and also forced BP to drill offshore, where it is less safe (and, btw, approved BP drilling there in the first place). In the top five international disasters, the main causes were also…lack of property rights and corrupt government.

    http://reason.com/archives/2010/07/20/got-environmental-problems-thi

    So, more government is going to solve global warming? Not likely.

  21. 20 — I don’t take responsibility for global change of any kind. All I take responsible for is my contribution to the situation. So I do what I can to be more efficient within the limitations of what I can do, and to support the growth of more efficient technologies. I don’t think that makes me morally superior to anybody else, and I’m not at all happy with those who think it does.

    The world is a big place, and people have different ways of seeing and understanding it and living in it. I like the idea of respecting it and doing what we can to preserve and care for it. But the expectation that we have the power to control it is hubristic in the extreme. Being good stewards, good neighbors, and good servants of God is the best we can do. This, as with the most important things in this world, are things were we don’t have the power to control them, and we have to trust God to do what we can’t when we’ve done our best.

  22. Blain:

    Well said. I too am very careful not to litter or dump pollution or use energy unnecessarily. It has nothing to do with any fear of global warming, I just feel that each of us has a duty to keep the place nice and not waste resources. I would not waste gas or electricity any more than I would waste good food. I also agree that it’s hubristic to expect that we have the power and the duty to control the climate.

    I would go further and say that Western civilization has been getting less and less wasteful on its own, without governments needing to impose efficiency on their people. I have no problem with environmental groups running public service ads reminding people not to pollute, educating them about the need to drive more efficient vehicles, recycle, even warning about global warming if they believe it’s a real threat. What I am very leery of is government trying to take control of the situation and expecting to be able to solve it or even do more good than harm.

  23. “[N]ews media and anything else that has been filtered from a scientific source.” I already ignore. They are the ones who have taught me NOT to trust Scientists, no matter how well intentioned, on the issue from whatever source. They lie, people lose jobs. I can’t, however, ignore Al Gore because he has held real power in the past and those who hold real power seek to implement his ideas. Sorry, but I’m far more worried for my life and safety at the hands of scientists who have the ear of government than a theory that may be 50/50 a reality. The Earth MIGHT get warmer in 50 to 100 years. The government WILL take my money and my freedoms within a voting cycle. Beloved scientists better get it in their heads that many people are afraid of what they know will happen much more than what are a few crunched numbers from a pitiful .00000001 percent of the life of this planet.

  24. A few people said,

    So, more government is going to solve global warming? Not likely. — Geoff B.

    What I am very leery of is government trying to take control of the situation — Agellius

    I’m far more worried for my life and safety at the hands of scientists who have the ear of government — Jettboy

    Hmm. I think I may be sensing a theme here. :-)

    Ok, I’ll agree. Government sucks. They all do.

    So your alternative would be…?

  25. My alternative would be what we’re already doing: Persuasion. If you believe there’s a problem, then try to persuade people that there is one and that they ought to be taking action to solve it. When enough people are persuaded then manufacturers will respond by offering more efficient products (as they already have begun to do). If those products sell well, then they will make more of them, and will make them more and more efficient as time goes on. And this is just one illustration.

    A lot of corporations are already taking action to reduce emissions, increase efficiency, recycle, etc., without government arm-twisting, purely for the purpose of being able to brag about it and impress consumers, who they hope will give them their business as a result.

    This is democracy and capitalism in action.

  26. “A lot of corporations are already taking action to reduce emissions”

    This is how it worked with particulate pollution in the ’70s. After rivers caught on fire, chemical dumping, high particulates and lung problems in the general population and acid rain, companies felt the market forces pushing them to cleaner plants. Consumers researched and found the heavy polluters and refrained from buying their… oh wait, that’s not what happened. It was government cap and trade on S02 and other polluting emissions. Ooops, my bad.

  27. Agellius said,

    My alternative would be what we’re already doing: Persuasion.

    Yeah, I can get behind that. There’s definitely some truth to the idea that manufacturers will respond to the market to a degree. But on the other hand, there is also some truth of the effectiveness of the rather sarcastic comments from Stan (eg: government protection).

    But I’m afraid you didn’t answer my question, so let me be more clear:

    If government is such a terrible thing, if it is going to “take my money and my freedoms within a voting cycle,” then exactly what is it we should do? Are your opinions similar to the famous quote, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub” spoken by Grover Norquist?

  28. So maybe I’m miss informed, but it’s my understanding that CO2 levels have been significantly higher (10x or more) in the past. So, while I think we can all agree that the burning of fossil fuels is putting CO2 in the air more quickly than if we weren’t, I’m a bit confused as to the dire consequences that will come from this. So, the questions that I’m left with are:

    1. What was the cause of the much higher levels of CO2 in the past?
    2. How sure are we of the data from these geologic periods?
    3. What are the undesirable side effects of increase CO2 levels, and at approximately what levels do they occur?

    I did a quick google search to see if I could find a reference for the above info, here’s what I got:

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

    I know nothing of the site or the validity of the data, hence question 2. It seems to me that before we act we need to properly assess the risks involved. If we are truly at 10% or less of the previous global maximum CO2 levels, I don’t think we are dire need of immediate action to save the planet from failing to support life. After all, we are here now.

    If someone on here (Geoff? Bruce?) knows anything about this information from their research in to Global Warming, I’d appreciate any information you can give me. I agree with Bruce that risk assessment is in order. As part of that, where the risk becomes significant is important. I still leave my house even though there is a risk I’ll be hit by lightning and die. The risk in that case is small enough I ignore it, and so far that has worked out okay. If it turns out that we have 1,000 years before our carbon emissions will approach the maximum levels seen in the past with no adverse health risks then I would recommend we skip carbon mitigation techniques and put our efforts in alternative power sources (fusion being my favorite).

    If on the other hand there are significant risks of adverse health risks with carbon levels 2x our current level and we are only 50 years from that, then carbon mitigation might become more crucial. In which case the woodworker in me suggests everyone plant some trees (maple, walnut, cherry, etc), and if you already have them cut them down and send them to me, and plant new ones. I’ll tie up the lumber for 50-100+ years as furniture and you can sequester more carbon with your next tree in your yard. :D

  29. James:

    I don’t know where the quote about taking freedoms within a voting cycle came from, it isn’t mine. I will just comment in passing that I heard an awful lot of that kind of talk from liberals during the Bush years, at least in regard to freedom.

    Other than that, I think a discussion on theory of government is too far beyond the topic of this post. As offered previously, I would be happy to discuss that or anything else via private email. You can click on my name to find a link to contact me that way. If not that’s fine too.

  30. 28 — Not so much my point, but I think I can dig into it this far:

    The problems I raised before can not be changed by government action, for reasons I pointed out right there. It’s not a matter that government is evil or not — you just can’t force scientific breakthroughs to happen on a convenient schedule, even with an unlimited budget and unlimited political power (neither of which are available). Sometimes you get them (Manhattan Project, Mercury/Gemini/Apollo), and sometimes you don’t (sustainable fusion reactions for energy remain about 40 years in the future, where they’ve been for the last 40 years).

    So my problem with expending large amounts of government power to try to force the impossible is, if I grant that effort the most altruistic of motives, that it’s a waste of resources to try. If I am a little more cynical, I have to wonder if the purpose of the exercise is not the bunnies and rainbows motivation they’ve claimed, but, rather, is the further expansion of government power over businesses. That’s something to be concerned about.

    We don’t have to get into a tired standard liberal/conservative “government is evil/wonderful” thing at this stage, do we?

  31. Stan,

    Re: Comment #27 — Those measures were implemented to mitigate immediate problems and — only by logical extension — the same problems in the future. Dealing with AGW is far more predictive in nature. If we were indeed seeing something as ostensibly undeniable as water catching on fire then perhaps more folks would feel that something akin to Cap and Trade to curb C02 would be justifiable. But at this point all we can do is take the word of a supposed scientific consensus.

    Doug,

    The biggest question for me has to do with tackling the cunundrum of runaway positive feedback. Because without there’s no real threat. With it, or with enough of it, I should say, there could be huge problems. But at this point I’m a little doubtful about positive feedback as the Climate would most likely be quite unstable — so much so that life may have had a little more difficulty getting along.

    That said, I’m no scientist — and feel a little sheepish going into that den. I normally try to stick with the, shall we say, more “social” elements of the argument.

  32. Agellius said,

    I don’t know where the quote about taking freedoms within a voting cycle came from, it isn’t mine.

    The quote was from Jettboy at #24.

    You are probably right in that a theory of government discussion is slightly off topic.

    Blain wondered,

    I have to wonder if the purpose of the exercise is not the bunnies and rainbows motivation they’ve claimed, but, rather, is the further expansion of government power over businesses.

    Sigh… Ok, maybe a theory of government discussion isn’t off topic after all. :-)

    Blain opined,

    We don’t have to get into a tired standard liberal/conservative “government is evil/wonderful” thing at this stage, do we?

    I hope not, because government is neither evil or wonderful. It’s not going to drain us of our bodily fluids in the middle of the night like some omniscient overlord. And it’s not going to give purple bunnies and rainbows to everyone so they can save us from the nasty Unicorn Wizard. :-D

    People who argue the “evil/wonderful” positions are on the extreme, draconian edge of their respective side, despite the fact that extremism has unfortunately become way too commonplace in our society. On the Left we have those who wish to regulate every single iota of our lives down to what toilet paper we use every day. And on the Right we have those who wish to drown the government in a bathtub and remove every vestige of it’s influence over all of our lives. Both of these ideas are ludicrous and should be shunned and ridiculed by any sane person.

    The reality is that we need government, despite it’s major flaws. Government is what creates the foundation of our culture and our way of life. It is what allows the majority of us to live in such a manner that was only dreamed of in sci fi books just a hundred years ago. I wholeheartedly agree that we do not need the overwhelming government control over many business practices. But at the same time, to let any business (or individual for that manner) do whatever it wishes without restriction is also the height of stupidity. And there is no perfect solution to reconcile these two positions, except to compromise.

    Oh wait! Sorry, I think I said a bad word…

    Bullcrap! Anyone who thinks that political compromise is a 4-letter word isn’t living in the real world the rest of us are. For the love of all that is holy, I wish the nation would quit this inane, infantile, insanely selfish, extremely dangerous political temper tantrum and reach across the isle to the other side for once! That goes for the Dems, the GOP, the Tea Party and every other self-obsessed, “my way or no way” extremist.

    Unless we turn our Republic into a military dictatorship, it is absolutely impossible for any one political philosophy to have complete control over the entire nation, as far, far too many people think we must. Compromise is the underlying nature of democracy for crying out loud! Democracy only truly works well when opposing sides agree and cooperate. Anything other than that and the machine breaks down and we all suffer for it.

    The current batch of extremely divided political extremists on all sides are crippling our nation and doing infinitely more harm than good. And anyone who thinks that “only my side must win” with no thought of how it affects the other side is only helping build a nation of angry, blinded, bigoted, hateful psychotics.

  33. James, the extremist boogeymen you point to are not the problem. By definition there are not a lot of extremists. If there were then they would be mainstream and not extremists. The problem is plain old, common disagreement. It has always been with us and always will be.

    The solution is not for people on the left to stop being leftists, nor those on the right to stop being rightists. The solution is to let the system do its job.

    Our political system is specifically designed to prevent any one faction from doing everything it wants to do at the cost of anyone else getting to do what they want. And it does exactly that. Maybe too well. It is an inherent characteristic of our system of government that it’s hard to take extreme measures in a short period of time. It takes a long time to influence a majority of people to change its views on things, and consequently it takes time and patience to accomplish major shifts in policy, when they get accomplished at all.

    What I seem to detect in you, is impatience that things aren’t getting done NOW, specifically, I assume, with regard to global warming. Sure, you don’t want the extremists to get their way, and you don’t want to replace our democracy with a dictatorship for the sake of getting things done quickly. What you want is compromise, dammit, and you want it NOW.

    I’m sorry, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t have American-style democracy and also swift, decisive, major policy shifts. Not because some people on this side are extremists, and some on that side too. But because a lot of people feel one way, and a lot feel another way, and a lot of them don’t know or don’t care, and our system of government is designed to make it hard for any one faction to get what it wants. Including the faction of James. ; )

    (I know I said I would not discuss theory of government. But I saw that this is connected with the topic of global warming so I went ahead and did it.)

  34. 33 — I think we’re communicating. This is cool.

    I suspect I agree with everything you’ve said here. I think the discussion of government involvement is necessary because the solutions to AGW proposed all seem to require government regulation and enforcement. All I’m aware of do. And, for reasons that I’ve given before, and those you’ve given here, massive structural change to our society and our energy economy aren’t going to happen.

    So the reality is that what we can do in response to this is less than the more fear-mongery have been demanding, and we’ll have to deal with the consequences of that. The good ones and the bad ones, and there will be both (you heard it here first!). We can hope that they’re wrong in the doom-and-gloom predictions that would happen if they didn’t get their way, but time will tell.

  35. Agellius said,

    What I seem to detect in you, is impatience that things aren’t getting done NOW, specifically, I assume, with regard to global warming.

    A very good guess, given that you don’t know me. But you are not anywhere near being right with that statement.

    I meant exactly what I said: the extremists are the problem.

    Agellius reasoned,

    James, the extremist boogeymen you point to are not the problem. By definition there are not a lot of extremists.

    Depends on your definition of the word “extremists.” I would assume your definition would mean, “those on the fringe of society.” My definition is instead, “those who follow an extremist philosophy.” Which means that it makes absolutely no difference if an extremists philosophy is on the fringe, or is accepted by the populace as normal. An extremist philosophy is one that is selfish, mean-spirited, antagonistic and bigoted to the “other side.” An extremist philosophy is one that causes contention, spite, division and anger among people. What is seen as extreme in one society is welcomed with open arms in another. What is considered extreme by a nation’s populace during one decade can be completely accepted two decades in the future; take racism and woman’s rights for example. A society’s idea of what is extreme can change with the wind and so is absolutely no indicator of what is truly extreme.

    I am talking about true extreme behavior from a phycological standpoint, not society’s current idea of what is extreme.

    For example:
    Joe McCarthy was an extremist;
    the people who belong to these groups are extremists;
    those who said Bush planned 9/11 are extremists;
    the people who say Obama has no birth certificate are extremists;
    Bruce’s friend who said our national interstate system is unconstitutional is an extremist;
    those who wish to remove all restrictions upon pollution from corporations are extremists;
    those who spout hatred on the air such as Olbermann, Beck, Limbaugh and Coulter are extremists;
    those who write Bible verses on the Army’s weapons are extremists.

    I could go on and on and on with example after example of current people, events, and ideals that have simply erased the ability for anyone to state a reasonable, moderate and rational position in the nation’s airwaves anymore. Every news story pits one side vs. another. Take a long look at the site I gave above to the Southern Poverty Law Center (It’s the link: “people who belong to these groups”). The number of hate groups in the US has skyrocketed into the stratosphere in the last year or so. That doesn’t happen without a reason.

    THAT is what I was talking about.

  36. James:

    If people are extremists then they’re extremists. The point of democracy is that we don’t dictate values to the population. The people themselves decide what to believe and whom to listen to, and whom to elect. If they choose extremism that’s their business. If you don’t like it then you can try to persuade them to adopt your own non-extremist views. But that’s pretty much all you can do about it.

    But what you’re saying, apparently, is that extremism is not a matter of opinion but of objective fact — to which you happen to have access — and those who disagree with what you consider objective fact, are just wrong whether they like it or not. No offense, but that strikes me as an extremist opinion, as well as a non-democratic one.

    I’m sure that extremists on both sides feel equally sure that their extremist views represent objective fact.

    I think that whether or not a view is considered extreme is beside the point. The only question that matters is whether it’s true or false. Branding it “extreme” is certainly a subjective judgment, and arguing over subjective judgments gets you nowhere. If you think someone is wrong, then show him where he’s wrong. That’s all you can do. In the meantime his vote counts as much as yours.

  37. Agellius said,

    But what you’re saying, apparently, is that extremism is not a matter of opinion but of objective fact — to which you happen to have access — and those who disagree with what you consider objective fact, are just wrong whether they like it or not. No offense, but that strikes me as an extremist opinion, as well as a non-democratic one.

    Again, a good guess at what I was trying to say, but you don’t get a biscuit this time either.

    For one thing, I never said that anyone should be forced to not be an extremist. I said instead that extremism is currently an overwhelming problem in American society.

    And I’d also say extremist views are most likely one of the bigger reasons that the huge fight over AGW (to get back on topic) was started.

  38. James:

    I never said that you ever said that anyone should be forced not to be an extremist. What I consider undemocratic is your assertion that you are able to judge *objectively* what views are extreme and what aren’t; and furthermore, judge that those views which you consider objectively extreme are basically ruining our society.

    I would have no quarrel with judging the extremeness of views based on the numbers of people who hold them. That at least would have an objective basis beyond one’s mere opinion. But you specifically said that your judging of certain views as extreme has nothing to do with how many people hold them — and yet still claim that your judgment has an objective basis. Whereas it seems to me that your basis for judging them extreme, is simply your disagreement with them.

    Again I think the democratic attitude towards views which you think are wrong, is not to label them, but to deal with them on their rational merits. For example if you encounter someone who believes 9/11 was an inside job, you should try to explain to them why you believe that position is meritless.

    Granted, often you will find such persons irrational. But in that case the problem is not extremism but irrationality.

    Now I would fully agree with you if you were to say that irrationality is a major problem in modern American society. Rationality, unlike extremism, is not a subjective judgment but is something you can measure by objective standards. Irrationality, not only in private political views but also in public discourse, leads to a lot of misunderstanding and confusion, and ought to be pointed out and confronted wherever it appears. (I think if schools did a better job teaching traditional logic and philosophy, we would be much better off in this regard.) But labeling people or their views “extremist” is a subjective judgment, and one which does little good but only contributes to polarization and resentment.

    You said at least once before that you don’t like labeling, since that oversimplifies things and tries to put people in boxes, or something like that. But in my opinion “extremist”, like “leftist” and “right-wing extremist”, is just another label. One should deal with opinions on their individual rational merits, and not by labeling them.

  39. Agellius,

    You said at least once before that you don’t like labeling, since that oversimplifies things and tries to put people in boxes, or something like that. But in my opinion “extremist”, like “leftist” and “right-wing extremist”, is just another label. One should deal with opinions on their individual rational merits, and not by labeling them.

    That was very eloquent and well written. I reread my post and found you are quite correct that I was labeling people by using the word extremist. I didn’t realize that I was doing that because I was letting my emotions get the better of me, so thank you for pointing it out. I’ll try to use much better and more appropriate words to explain my strongly held views on this topic in the future.

    As for your other points, I believe our disagreement here is one of semantics and the difficulty to convey complicated perceptions and ideas at all well via this medium with anything less than a 30-page, heavily researched essay. :-)

    Agelllius said,

    Now I would fully agree with you if you were to say that irrationality is a major problem in modern American society.

    Then I believe that we should leave it there then. That’s not exactly what I was saying, but it is very close and good enough.

    I like this quote of yours from above, Agellius, “My alternative would be what we’re already doing: Persuasion.”

    And that is basically why I brought up the topic on this thread in the first place. The foolish firestorm over AGW doesn’t need to exist if it weren’t for this form of irrational behavior that is becoming far, far too common in our society. And so I was (poorly) trying to persuade others to the idea of stepping away from similar behavior.

    Just like I didn’t realize I was being hypocritical by using “extremist” as a label after I decried labels, most everyone else are also unknowingly hypocritical in their strongly held political beliefs when it comes to such a divisive topic as AGW. A normal person many not consider themselves to be an extremist or to be acting irrationally. But if that person blindly follows the ideas of someone else who is behaving irrationally, then they will unknowingly end up with a similar irrational behavior pattern, despite the fact they are normal in every other way. At least that is my experience.

    But most likely I could have summed all of this up by just saying this: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. — 2 Peter 1: 5–7″ (Emphasis is mine.)

    It definitely would have saved a heck of a lot of typing… :-)

  40. James:

    I can’t argue with anything in your last post. Darn it. ; )

    I might just quibble with your statement that “if that person blindly follows the ideas of someone else who is behaving irrationally, then they will unknowingly end up with a similar irrational behavior pattern, despite the fact they are normal in every other way.”

    It sounds like you are saying people should not trust what other people say but figure out everything for themselves. But as Bruce as explained, very few people are qualified to figure out global warming for themselves, including Bruce and myself. So we have no choice but to do our best to figure out whom to trust.

    But I’m guessing your primary point was that people shouldn’t blindly follow what Rush says — and to be fair you also include Olberman. (But then you throw in Beck and Coulter, so that’s what, 3 to 1? ; ) However that does beg the question whether those people are worthy of trust.

    Personally I don’t form opinions solely on the basis of commentators like that, who are really polemicists — not that there’s anything wrong with polemics. Each side needs polemicists in order to balance out the polemics of the other side. But at the same time I don’t automatically dismiss everything they say. They can serve the purpose of bringing issues to our attention, and presenting arguments in favor of one side. You can then take that information and compare it with what you have learned elsewhere, and see which arguments ring true.

    Therefore I don’t blame the polemicists. It may be a shame that a lot of people do blindly follow them, but that’s just human nature. It’s an unpleasant truth, but the majority of people, in every age and place, have always been fairly ignorant and not all that bright. I think this is why the Founding Fathers did not initially institute universal suffrage, not even among white males.

    In short, if you want universal suffrage then you can’t complain when the voters don’t vote wisely and seem incapable of keeping themselves rationally informed. It’s virtually unavoidable. The ignorant are like the poor: They will always be with us. To want democracy is fine, but to expect a calm, intelligent and reasonable majority among the electorate, might be just a little bit unrealistic.

    Anyway sorry to babble on. Once I get started…

  41. Bruce N., I don’t mean absolute certainty, because scientifically speaking, there is no such thing. I mean evidence up to the level where we accept any other physical theory. By the standards of chemistry and physics the evidence of any actual harm from rising carbon dioxide levels over the next century or two is somewhere in the neighborhood of rumors and superstition.

    Worthy of further investigation is about the most that can be said for it. The predictive power of existing models is nonexistent. If you can’t come up with a model with predictive power, scientifically speaking you don’t know anything.

    At least Ptolemy’s epicycles had predictive power. The current models of long term climate change have to date been demonstrated to have an accuracy somewhere been tarot cards and palm reading. And the preponderance of the scientific community wants the world to spend more than 100 trillion dollars on a treatment which has yet to rise above the level of quack doctory.

    Basically the warmist community has a severe case of confirmation bias, not that different from those who patronize spiritualists and fortune tellers. They are so convinced that there is a problem and we are the cause of it that everything they see looks like confirmation of what they have thought all along, and anyone who suggests otherwise on the basis of any evidence whatsoever is evil, evil, evil.

  42. Back on the computer again after a break.

    Agellius said,

    I can’t argue with anything in your last post. Darn it. ; )

    :-D

    He also said,

    But I’m guessing your primary point was that people shouldn’t blindly follow what Rush says — and to be fair you also include Olberman. (But then you throw in Beck and Coulter, so that’s what, 3 to 1? ; )

    Yeah, that was pretty close to my primary point. And there are more polemicists on the Left, true, but their microphones are smaller than the one’s the Right has. Or in other words, both sides probably have about an equal share of polemicists, but (at the moment) there is much more air time heard from the conservative voices than what is heard from the Left. This is because there are more popular conservative blowhards than there are popular liberal blowhards. Yes there are folks like Krugman, Huffington and Friedman. And Stewart and Colbert if you want to include the comedians. But I’ve yet to see the Left’s media spokespeople create a political movement (such as the 9/12ers). I’ve yet to see any of those on the left stir their readers/viewers up to a froth of hatred and anger as I’ve seen from Limbaugh, Coulter and Beck. I’ve yet to hear any of the multiplying numbers of radicals who either have or are planning to “take out” their enemies repeat ideas spouted by any of the Left’s media. Yes, that has happened in the past of course. But at the moment? Not so much.

    So yeah, 3 to 1 sounds like a good number.

    Agellius delivered,

    In short, if you want universal suffrage then you can’t complain when the voters don’t vote wisely and seem incapable of keeping themselves rationally informed. It’s virtually unavoidable. The ignorant are like the poor: They will always be with us. To want democracy is fine, but to expect a calm, intelligent and reasonable majority among the electorate, might be just a little bit unrealistic.

    Oh I agree completely, although I would be slow to call them all ignorant. Uninformed mostly, with a minority of truly ignorant people. But this is why I occasionally speak out on Mormon blogs. Not that I’m perfect or that I’m always right of course, but I feel that I must at least try to express a faithful Mormon viewpoint that is in opposition to the overwhelming and polarizing conservative Mormon voice that is currently in our Church. At the very least, it is a comfort for myself. And if I’ve let someone else know that there very devoted are non-conservative Mormons out there, then so much the better.

  43. But when we know we have an unsustainable circumstance like our growing CO2 levels, it is not the correct moral choice to wait for a problem to show up before we do something about it.

    I believe this is the heart of your argument, right?

    If the amount of happiness in the world were growing with no chance of cutting back without intervention, then by your definition, it would be unsustainable. Therefore, by your logic, the correct moral choice would be to immediately find ways to start cutting back on happiness, rather than waiting for a problem to show up.

    Now, I’m not saying CO2 = happiness. What I am saying is that your logic is flawed. You assume that the growth in CO2 levels is a bad thing. That’s begging the question.

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