Mod+ 234. GLOBAL WARMING, CLIMATE CHANGE AND OUR ILLUSION OF CONTROL

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Well I think the term 'denier' was chosen (not by you, of course) as a term of abuse. There are numbers of scientists who have studied this issue and do not think there is any threat at all. Ask yourself why exactly Obama has had to resort of hiding evidence, sacking a scientist, etc etc.

    However, if you want to discuss this subject, please do it in a substantive way - as you would with ψ-related subjects. Indeed, because you are a proponent of ψ, your mind must be open to the idea that science sometimes deliberately tells the wrong story, and sometimes fails to see the wood for the trees (possible pun), so why be so closed-minded to the idea that it has done exactly that in the case of 'Climate Change'?

    I also think you need to realise just how catastrophically un-green 'climate change' has been if it turns out that it was unnecessary.

    David
     
  2. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Good - we agree about something!
    Well fixing a problem that doesn't exist, won't fix another one that may be real. We can't return to primitive living unless 95% of us are eliminated. We simply have to live in a fairly artificial way, and that means using chemicals, and energy. Concerns for the biosphere have to be tackled one by one - e.g. mercury, arsenic, etc, and they absolutely have to be explored by scientists with a wide range of views. Letting obsessional scientists such as Holdren run policy will probably lead to more environmental destruction, not less. For example, if you ban a pesticide or preservative when that is not necessary, the amount of food spoilage goes up dramatically.

    Unfortunately, politicians and many in the media seem to have a very idealised notion of how science works :(

    David
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
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  3. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    When I made the comment it was made as a general comment - not addressed to anyone in particular - and it is accurate, as your reaction has shown
    But I had no intention of upsetting you or anyone else here

    As it happens I think there is a problem; and as I explained I think it is a planetary biospheric crisis which our species must deal with in this century
    So we seem to disagree there

    I am not a fan of the media and political approach to the matter at all.
    I think they are all inadequate and even absurd and possibly criminal, as in the case of carbon taxes and setting up derivatives casinos for speculation based on them
    Which is just a way of making money out of the crisis. A market solution - a sort of trickle-down environmentalism
    if we can make enough money out of it then some environmental benefits will trickle down to the masses and the planet
    But neoliberal globalist capitalism cannot solve this crisis
     
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  4. If natural process could reduce entropy, then a tornado could turn rubble into a house.

    This is the kind of order you get from natural processes:

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/01/weather/severe-weather-midwest/
    "This tornado picked up about 15-20 of these old cars, picked them up, blew them out of the junkyard, across the county road and into Interstate 55."
     


  5. https://www.encounterbooks.com/features/rupert-darwall-totalitarian-roots-environmentalism/

    Rupert Darwall on the Alarming Roots of Environmentalism.

    If you look at what the Nazis were doing in the 1930s, in their environmental policies, virtually every theme you see in the modern environmental movement, the Nazis were doing. It happens to be historical fact that the Nazis were the first political party in the world to have a wind power program. It also happens to be a fact that they were against meat eating, and they considered…it…terribly wasteful that so much grain went to feed livestock rather than to make bread. It’s also the case that they had the equivalent of fuel economy rules because they had the most expensive gasoline in Europe and so they basically had very few people driving cars…I think actually the most extraordinary thing that I came across was this quote from Adolf Hitler where he told an aide once, “I’m not interested in politics. I’m interested in changing people’s lifestyles.” Well, that could be…That’s extraordinarily contemporary. That is what the modern environmental movement is all about. It’s about changing people’s lifestyles.

    https://politicaloutcast.com/professor-global-warming-deniers-should-be-executed/
    Professor: Global Warming “Deniers” Should be Executed
    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/04/punishing_climate_change_deniers.html

    Climate Nazis

    2005: Margo Kingston, in Australia’s Daily Briefing, said: “Perhaps there is a case for making climate change denial an offence. It is a crime against humanity, after all.”

    2006: Bill McGuire, at University College, London, said: “We have Holocaust deniers; we have climate change deniers. And, to be honest, I don’t think there’s a great deal of difference.”

    2006: The Grist.com website called for Nuremberg-style trials for climate skeptics. The article was later retracted.

    2006: Heidi Cullen featured Dave Roberts, who said online, “When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards – some sort of climate Nuremberg.” The remark was not later retracted.

    2006: Mark Lynas, a “green” columnist, wrote: “I wonder what sentences judges might hand down at future international criminal tribunals on those who will be partially but directly responsible for millions of deaths from starvation, famine and disease in decades ahead. I put [their climate change denial] in a similar moral category to Holocaust denial – except that this time the Holocaust is yet to come, and we still have time to avoid it. Those who try to ensure we don’t will one day have to answer for their crimes.”

    2006: Spiked Online reported that when a correspondent for the American current affairs show 60 Minutes was asked why his various feature programmes on global warming did not include the views of global warming sceptics, he replied: “If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”

    2007: Ellen Goodman, in the Boston Globe, said: “Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers.”

    2007: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lashed out at global warming skeptics, saying: “This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors.” The penalty for treason is death.

    2007: Yvo de Boer, secretary general of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said ignoring the urgency of global warming would be “criminally irresponsible”.

    2007: Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, a UN special climate envoy, said: “It’s completely immoral even to question” the UN’s scientific opinion on climate.

    2008: Dr James Hansen of NASA demanded that skeptics be “put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature”. The penalty for crimes against humanity is death.

    2008: David Suzuki, a Canadian environmentalist, said government leaders skeptical of global warming should be “thrown into jail”.

    2008: Alex Lockwood, a British journalism professor, said that writers questioning global warming should be banned.

    2009: A writer at Talking Points Memo said global warming “deniers” should be executed or jailed. He later retracted this remark.

    2010: James Lovelock, inventor of the “Gaia hypothesis”, told The Guardian: “I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

    2010: Dr. Donald Brown, Professor of “Climate Ethics” at Penn State University, declared that skeptics, who had caused “a 25-year delay in acting to stop climate change”, may be guilty of a “new crime against humanity”. The penalty for crimes against humanity is death.

    2010: A video from the “10:10 campaign” showed climate skeptic children being blown up by their teacher in class, and their classmates were spattered with their blood and guts.

    2011: An Australian journalist said climate skeptics should be “branded” with cattle-irons to mark them out from the rest of the population.

    2011: Another Australian journalist said skeptics should be “gassed”.

    2012: Professor Richard Parncutt of the University of Graz, Austria, recommended the death penalty for skeptics. He later withdrew.

    2012: Dr. Donald Brown, Professor of “Climate Ethics” at Widener University School of Law, again declared that skeptics may be guilty of a “new crime against humanity”. The penalty for crimes against humanity is death.

    2014: Dr Lawrence Torcello, assistant philosophy professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, wrote that people who disagreed with him should be sent to jail.

    2014: During a February cold snap, the New York Times ran a cartoon headed “Self-Destructing Sabers for Dispatching Climate-Change Deniers” and showing a climate skeptic being stabbed with an icicle.



    2014: The gawker.com website said: “Those denialists should face jail. They should face fines. They should face lawsuits from the classes of people whose lives and livelihoods are most threatened by denialist tactics.”

    2014: The host of MSNBC’s The Ed Show promoted Soviet-style re-education for climate skeptic politicians by conducting an on-air poll on the question “Should climate-denying Republicans be forced to take a basic earth science course?”

    2015: Katie Herzog at Grist.com on 16 January wrote: “If this planet is to survive the scourge that is humanity, we all have to stop reproducing. Yes, all of us. In that spirit, I propose we … sterilize every human male on his 10th birthday.”

    2015: Comment on the webpage of the Brisbane Times about a category 5 cyclone along the Queensland coast on 19/20 February: “These type of weather events could happen further south in future and be more intense with global warming … if anyone has to suffer out of this one I hope it is a climate change denier, if anyone.” Downloaded from http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/cyclone-marcia-live-coverage-20150219-13iuaw.html.

    2015: The Australian Capital Territory’s Arts Fund gave $18,793 “to assist with costs of the creative development of a new theatre work, Kill Climate Deniers”.


     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  6. Laird

    Laird Member

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    I don't think I've seen a more blatant example of the genetic fallacy, with Godwin's Law thrown in for good measure. I watched the first ten or eleven minutes of the video and I didn't see a single argument on its own merits as to why we shouldn't be concerned to protect the Earth, nor why organised groups should not be formed to advocate for that aim.

    Regarding punitive measures against climate deniers: imagine that climate change is true - I know, you don't believe in it, but imagine that it is: isn't it then justifiable to take the position that those who deny it and thus impede a solution to what could become hell on Earth (almost literally) should face consequences?
     
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  7. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    I think your post is a low point for this thread Jim.
    Like it or not the environmental damage being done is not going to go away until we wake up and deal with it.
     
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  8. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    Jim, Laird, I'd like to add something important in the obviously adversarial dialogue which seems to start now between you. This something is a clarification of the ethical issues of the global warming controversy - which is, unfortunately, is more ethical (and political) than scientific.


    Fundamentally, one may reduce the multitude of ethical values to the three very basic ones - freedom, truth and compassion (of course, such reduction is itself quite simplistic and debatable, but let's use it now for the sake of mutual understanding, OK?). These three basic values are equally valid and important; not one of them can be sacrificed to empower the other two - or two, to empower only one. Yet, the pro-global warming people, who are mostly (not necessarily, but mostly) come from political Left, are too eager to sacrifice truth and freedom for the sake of unrestrained compassion, while anti-global warming people, who largely (not exclusively, but largely) come from the political Right, are as eager to throw away truth and compassion for the sake of unlimited individual freedom.


    Unfortunately, the possibility of becoming authoritarian and uncritical for the sake of helping ones who suffer, and towards whom they feel compassionate, is the constant temptation for the ones on the Left; I'm saying this as a Libertarian Leftist myself. I can understand that environmentalists are sincerely concerned for humans - and all other living beings - who may suffer greatly if global warming theory is true. But in their pity, they are too willing to throw away the truth - not only as an epistemological category, but as an axiological value. This desire is visible in both their insistence that current expert consensus equals objective truth (which is epistemologically false) and, most importantly, in their utter refusal to listen to their critics, let alone to engage in an open debate with them. But truth-as-value is, essentially, the understanding and acceptance of one's own fallibility, of unavoidable possibility of making a mistake. If some group of people proclaim themselves to be so correct that no discussion is needed at all, it means that truth and objectivity is thrown away by them. And if they demand that their claims must be accepted by anyone without question, and propose censorship and persecution, it means that they gave up on the value of freedom as well. The only thing that is important for them is their compassion and concern - that may easily turn to be badly misguided and thus dangerously counterproductive... yet, since they have silenced any critical voices, nobody can point to their mistakes. Well, until the consequences are catastrophic and everyone is damaged: compassion that is blind to truth and averse to freedom may be devastative.


    Yet the pro-capitalist, free-market-worshipping Libertarian Rightists also sacrifice two basic values for one: they desire unlimited individual freedom and thus throw away truth (here they are similar to the Authoritarian Left) and compassion (and here they differ from it). They are ethically just than they protect free speech, free expression and free inquiry from the Authoritarian Leftists' demands to censor and persecute them for the sake of compassion to the alleged or potential victims (claim of victimhood itself needs to be proven, not just blindly believed). But their protection of freedom does not mean they value truth - they don't give a damn about it; as much as Authoritarian Leftists, they just believe themselves to be correct and do not want to listen to any objections. And they refuse to notice the damaging consequences that are the inevitable results of unrestrained capitalism - from environmental damage (even if global warming is false, global pollution and poisoning are undoubtedly true) to destruction of the very freedom they desire because of the harsh inequality and exploitation produced by capitalism. Freedom which does not agree to restrain itself by truth and compassion is as destructive as compassion which does not measure itself by truth and freedom.


    The only viable and productive way, I'm sure is the one that acknowledges and accepts all the three basic values. It means that we can and should stand for environmental and social policies that protect people and nature, because are compassionate to them and concerned about them; but we should also allow other people to disagree with such policies, and - most importantly!!! - no matter if they are majority or minority, we should actually listen to the reasons of their disagreement and take them seriously, since it is always possible that it is them who are correct and it is us who are incorrect. And, if we are incorrect, we can and should modify our policies. And such listening is only possible if freedom is respected.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
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  9. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    They are also willing to expose the poor in the West to high prices for fuel, which they cannot pay, and to restrict people in the Third World to poor quality 'sustainable energy only'. To do that without really assessing the global warming issue, but for the sake of political advantage, is quite the opposite of pity.

    Nowadays, a significant portion of UK electricity is obtained from former coal fired power stations, that now burn wood pellets created from trees in the US, and shipped to the UK. The 'theory' is that trees are a sustainable form of energy because the woodland can be replanted. I won't bother to debunk that theory!

    David
     
  10. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    An important addition on the idea of "expert consensus" and demands to accept it without question: interstingly, a lot of people who like to appeal to supposed "scientific consensus" on global warming are simultaneously rejecting it if the safety of the GMOs is concerned. For them, the appeal to "consensus" seems to be acceptable only as long as "consensus" is likeable. If it is not likeable, it may go to hell; if it is, when it is worshipped.

    I think, the notion of "consensus" is not epistemologically valid at all, at least not scientifically valid. "Consensus" is not truth. It does not mean that we should reject global warming and GMO safety out of demonstrative opposition to the "consensus"; it only mean that we should examine the argumentation and evidence (and people presenting it) ourselves.

    Rejecting the "consensus" without proper examination, simply out of personal or collective desire, is also a part of freedom... yet it has as little to do with truth as the blind and uncritical following of the same "consensus".
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  11. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I agree with a lot of that. However, the introduction of 'intermediate nuclear missiles' into Europe was extremely dangerous because their very short flight times meant the risk that nuclear war could ignite by accident was greatly increased.

    I was a member of the peace movement, and I still belong to CND. As I keep on saying, the Left was hugely different back then. I wish Rupert Darwall had recognised that change more.

    David
     
  12. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    The biospheric crisis has yet to be properly understood or fully digested by our civilisation. That is a process that will take time and pain.
    The token actions thus far have been half baked at best and outright scams at worse (ie carbon taxes)
    All kinds of vested interests are manipulating the research and the data and the discussion for all kinds of selfish ends; that's just the way we do things.
    Our world is dominated by vastly powerful industries and institutions which are slow to change and adapt and quick to protect their power base and privilege.
    Things will have to get a lot worse before they can get better.
     
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  13. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Vortex, at this point I don't have the spare writing time/energy to get into a discussion of the ethics of the Left/Right when it comes to global warming. What I'll do instead is to simply present the way I see things:

    There is a consensus amongst those qualified in the relevant field - climate science - that the Earth is warming, and that the climate is changing, in a way that is dangerous and potentially even catastrophic to life on Earth, and that this is due to human emissions of certain gasses. I am not qualified in this field, which is complex, and so, short of completing a course in climate science at a reliable university, I can only appeal to the consensus amongst the qualified in order to form a view and thus to either endorse or reject the need for action to reduce emissions. I think it's patently unreasonable to expect everybody on the planet to take a course in climate science and become qualified in order to form a view on whether or not this potentially serious issue requires drastic action - and I don't intend to do it myself. What other option is there than to appeal to the consensus amongst the qualified? This is not a "sacrifice of truth", it is simply the most pragmatic choice.

    Of course, consensus is not always right, and consensuses sometimes change over time, but this is a basic matter of risk management (a field of study in itself), a key aspect of which involves assessing not only the probability of the risk occurring, but also the size of its impacts were it to be realised. Given the size of the impacts were the risk to be realised, combined with the significant probability that the consensus amongst the qualified is correct, it is again simply the most pragmatic choice to mitigate the risk. The costs of mitigating this risk are not nearly so much as to outweigh the benefits of mitigation, particularly the avoidance of the far greater costs if the risk is realised.

    Now, there are naysayers whose political position is to actively reject the need for any sort of risk mitigation, but, in my experience, the majority of naysayers (at least on this forum), when pushed, will say something like, "Yes, the risk mitigation strategies that those who accept the consensus on global warming advocate for us to take are activities that we ought to be undertaking anyway (albeit perhaps at a more gradual pace than is advocated for), or that at least in the end will have positive environmental effects aside from mitigating the risk of global warming - I just don't think that global warming is either happening or at least caused by humans".

    So, ultimately, most of us - both those who appeal to the consensus as well as those who reject it - agree that we ought to be moving away from carbon-emitting sources of power and towards renewable ones for a variety of reasons, even if we agree on only some of them. I'd really love it if that could be the focus of discussions such as these: how are we going to achieve that with least disruption and cost?
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  14. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    In my opinion once human civilisation (at a planetary or global level) has understood that it simply has to be done and has decided to enact the necessary transformations and transitions the cost in monetary terms will be more or less irrelevant; an accounting matter. In fact the process will be massively economically stimulating. The big issue will be disruption.
     
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  15. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Right, that's more than likely true, especially given that the cost of renewables is reducing more and more, encouraging more and more people and institutions to invest in them.

    Yes, but given the growing economic incentives, this need not be too great.
     
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  16. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    Thanks for you response, Laird - and let me explain my point about "sacrifice of truth" in more detail.


    The example from which we began - global warming - is, no matter how strange it may sound, is among the "softer" controversies - in the social sense. I mean that the impact of potential failure of the mainstream position are not that devastative here: as you correctly noted (and I fully agree with you here), it is a valid long-term strategy to replace fossil fuels with new and renewable energy sources whether the consensus on the greenhouse gasses is true or false. It is a valid pragmatic choice to side with the energy renovation proponents on this issue, since their position is definitely both more technologically progressive and environmentally friendly; therefore, in practice, it is their side that I myself prefer, even if I still maintain my right to doubt and question it theoretically, and to defend anyone else's right to do so.


    Yet the insistence on accepting consensus in general - combined with the stance that people who are not "experts" in a particular discipline should not question the "experts" in it - looks notably, and painfully, less clear-cut when we approach issues where both options - pro-consensus and anti-consensus ones - bear severe and lethal risks for many people; where human lives are the immediate and inevitable stake of decisions being made. This works for most controversies in medical fields, especially the one which have provoked so much fury and caused so much trouble when it was just mentioned on Psience Quest - HIV-AIDS controversy. Understanding that Psience Quest is intentionally more specifically psi-centered forum, I won't actively push this topic there as not being relevant to the forum's mainline. Yet, well, here is Skeptiko, not Psience Quest, so I will speak my mind openly.


    In HIV-AIDS debate, there is no side who can reasonably claim that its proposals are safer and less risky than the proposals of the other one. Both HIV proponents and HIV skeptics are effectively making a claim about a objective trueness of the particular interpretation of the AIDS causation; if their claim is indeed true, countless lives will be saved, yet if it is false, countless lives will be damaged and ruined. So, here, by the accepting or rejecting the consensus, one literally bets one's own life.


    And this is exactly why such bet should be made by each human being personally, not by the "consensus" of "experts", no matter how eminent such "experts" may be - they can still can easily turn out to be wrong in the end, as they have already turned out to be wrong many, many times in the history of medicine and science.


    (Here I would highly recommend you Peter Duesberg's superb book "Inventing the AIDS Virus". Even if you completely disagree on his position on HIV-AIDS, still do read the first four chapters of his book, which do not deal with AIDS issue, but rather tell about the history of mistakes - very dangerous mistakes, mistakes which may cost many human lives - of mainstream medicine and medical science. The book itself is freely accessible.)


    Here is the issues of truth and freedom, and their vital necessity for a productive compassion, arise in their fullness. Freedom, here, is personal protection from compulsory - read, violent - medical treatment. And medical treatment is compulsory when it comes without the informed consent. And information is exactly the thing which is being destroyed by censorship - including so-called "no-platforming"; information of the alternative, non-mainstream, anti-consensus interpretation of the cause, and therefore treatment, of the AIDS. Information which may save countless lives if it is actually true and consensus is false, which is a likely possibility (the case against HIV is apparently strong, if one bothers looking).


    Would-be censors might say here that such information can destroy lives as well, if it is false after all. And indeed it can. Yet such destruction, if it happens, will be the result of the personal, free, informed choice made by a human being - a choice made by weighting all possibilities, "mainstream" and "fringe" alike. By censoring competing, mainstream-challenging information, and thus effectively refusing such choice, people are violently imposing the similar choices made by them on everyone else. Such behavior is as anti-freedom as it gets, and I will never accept and never approve it. Freedom is our protection from each other; it protects me form others, yet it also protects others from me. It guarantees that I will not force my choice on the ones who disagree with it, even if I'm pretty certain that their choice is false and will damage them greatly, and feel compassion for the suffering they have willingly brought on themselves. My compassion is restricted by the freedom of myself and others, that's why it does not turn into an oppression motivated by pity: I can try to persuade them to give up, and can help them to mitigate the negative consequences if they do arise; but I will not use violence - including the censorship, which is a form of violence, actually - to make them follow my way.


    And here, in the persuasion process, where the truth is vital: I can and should try to turn people to my side, yet I also listen what they has to say. It is always possible that I made a mistake somewhere along the way, and, in the process of the persuasion of my opponents - which a mutual, feedback-based process, since my opponents will try to persuade me to take their side as much as I will try to persuade them to take mine - these opponents may point me to such mistake.


    Anyway, whether I will or will not notice my mistakes, other people would be protected from them because of my respect of their (and my own) freedom, including freedom to infrom ourselves of the alternatives to my proposal. And this works with everyone - including "experts", including even a vast majority of them. People can and should be protected from the compulsory (read, violent) enforcement of the "expertise"; "experts" may try to persuade them, yet they have no right to force them, neither directly with mandatory medical procedures, nor indirectly with the censorship of the "fringe" medical positions.


    When many human lives are at stake, the best decision is to let each single human life to decide its own fate for itself, with all options being accessible. The denial of such personal informed decision will not only deny human freedom to direct one's life, and open debate as a source of truth, for the sake of pity for the potential victims of the possibly wrong choices, but may lead to the most catastrophic results if the massively enforced and forbidden-to-be-questioned decision will turn out to be mistaken after all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
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  17. Laura O

    Laura O Member

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    Recently a friend of mine who suffers from health issues posted an article on Facebook about how important it is to get flu shots because "it isn't just about you" - one of many articles I've seen (I think this one was from the New York Times) basically labeling people who don't get flu shots as "selfish". I responded with a piece about the dubious efficacy of flu shots and didn't say much else... what I didn't want to get into with her is that I frequently see this sort of shaming of people for not getting flu shots (or other vaccinations, for which the shaming factor increases exponentially) - but I never see anyone suggest that, on the other side, isn't there an element of selfishness in people insisting that others undergo a risk-carrying medical procedure because they believe that doing so will provide safety for themselves? (my friend's comment on her posted article was something like, "This is important for people like me").
     
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  18. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Thanks, Vortex. You make some very reasonable points, and the discussion is interesting enough that I will respond in turn.

    I think that the key issue is whether, and to what degree, people should be free to question the consensus of experts and the appropriate actions that follow from that consensus.

    I agree that, because even naysayers generally accept that the appropriate acts should be undertaken anyway, global warming is not such an edifying case to use. I think that there is another reason to distinguish it as an exceptional case: that its effects are global rather than individual. If the appropriate acts are not undertaken, the entire world suffers the consequences. On the other hand, such cases of denying an expert consensus as, for example, with respect to HIV/AIDs, and with respect to the "need" for "psychiatric patients" to be sectioned and/or forced to take drugs "for their own good" - an example which I think worries you as much as it does me - concern certain affected individuals only, and not the entire globe. I think that there is in those cases far less of an argument to restrict an individual's freedom to detract from consensus, especially and crucially in the case of the individuals affected.

    My response to Jim though was motivated primarily by his comparison of people calling for consequences for deniers of global warming with members of a brutal and aggressive regime that murdered millions of Jews - a highly offensive comparison, especially because he extended it not just to people calling for such consequences, but to environmentalists in general, and the offensiveness of which I think it is "curious" that David as an interventionist moderator ignored. I think David Eire was diplomatically understating it when he called Jim's post "a low point for this thread".

    It is not so much that I endorse that call for consequences unconditionally - I simply questioned whether it might be "justifiable to take the position", i.e., whether people who took that position could have reasonable arguments rather than being "Nazis". At the very least, one reasonable argument is - as in the case of corporate shills for Big Tobacco - that if an unqualified person knows or believes that the consensus on global warming is correct, but, for profit, and on behalf of Big Oil and Big Coal, advocates vigorously via a loud public platform that the consensus is false or is a political conspiracy, and that no action should be taken and that indeed we should expand petroleum-based transport and coal-fired power, then that person should suffer consequences. On the other end of the scale is a person who is a qualified climate scientist and who has examined the science, evidence and arguments carefully, and who cautions in the scientific literature that the consensus view might be somewhat exaggerated, and why s/he thinks so - quite clearly, I think, such a person should not at all be censored. Where the line between the two is drawn is a matter that could be discussed, preferably with those involved in the discussion refraining from referring to one another as totalitarians...
     
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  19. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Laura O, I completely agree with you re vaccines. There may be an argument that an unvaccinated person poses a risk to others, but (1) except in rare cases, that risk can be mitigated by individuals who believe in the efficacy of vaccines being vaccinated themselves, and, which was more your point, (2) that argument is far outweighed by the right of an individual to choose what enters their own body regardless of what the medical consensus is.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  20. David Eire

    David Eire New

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    338
    I think this idea can be applied to some issues; and should always be applied in discussion and debate; but some decisions cannot be left to individual freedom of choice.
    There are many examples - a mundane example would be having driving insurance.

    When the majority of people in Europe and the US became aware of the necessity to do away with chattel slavery; or later to allow women to vote, etc, there were many individuals who believed their rights and freedoms were being abused; and in the case of slavery a bloody war was fought in the US over it (in part).
    When child labor was outlawed many protested their right to employ children. Today there are radical US libertarians who believe the child labor laws in the US are unconstitutional. They believe that children are the property of their guardians who should be free to rent or sell them; and should have no legal obligation to feed or care for them.
    These kinds of matters cannot be left to individual choice. You cannot permit parents to rent or sell or starve their children.

    In the case of what I call the biospheric crisis (the climate and CO2 thing is just part of that) it cannot be left to individual choice except in the sense of a democratic choice or vote.
    No individual can decide they want nothing done about the biospheric crisis and impose that on the rest of the planet on the basis of individual freedom.
    Likewise no individual ought to be allowed to impose the acceptance of the crisis and any particular actions to deal with it on the rest of the population.
    Ideally it has to be a community decision by majority consensus and that is what I hope will gradually emerge.

    The biospheric crisis will only be properly addressed when a sufficient percentage of the population is aware of the necessity to act.
    There will still be individuals insisting it is all a conspiracy or some such; but they cannot and wont be free to stop the rest of the population acting.

    My hope is when the time comes the solutions will not be imposed by a power elite (oligarchs) in ways that benefit their interests at the cost of ordinary people.
    I hope there will be as much democratic consensus as possible.
    I hope there will not have to be wars fought on account of it; although many pundits predict there will be.
     
    Laird and Vortex like this.

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