Every 1500 Years?

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Carcano, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. doodah Registered Senior Member

    I apologize for my initial glib response- but I found your post somewhat elitist.
    Old cynic that I am, too many years in this business have illustrated that the consensus view should usually be eyed as suspect. You’re probably not old enough to remember the “consensus” view on mountain building in the 50’s and 60’s- involving deep sedimentary basins (geosynclines) and isostatic uplift? Continental drift?- ridiculed. Crustal plates moving about- impossible. But even undergraduate students just starting out in geology could see that there were problems with the “consensus” view.
    Certainly, today’s consensus view on global warming is also far from ironclad.
    I agree.
    However, the response to global warming *is* a political decision.
    I think we would both agree that an informed public will make better political choices than one mired in ignorance. How does the public become informed? Unfortunately, most people don’t have the time, the background or the access to read scientific journals (not that the scientific journals aren’t immune to advocacy). I applaud anyone who is willing to try to understand the differing scientific views on complex issues. In my experience, most people can differentiate propaganda from scientific studies.

    Global warming is real. The political debate shouldn’t be “What’s the cause?”, but rather “What are we going to do about it?” This decision requires weighing the marginal costs of CO2 abatement against not only the potential costs and benefits of global warming, but also against the opportunity costs. Would our resources be better spent to fight HIV/AIDS, or malaria prevention, or to provide foods and supplements to ward off malnutrition?

    I am an infrequent visitor to this forum, due to ongoing field work, so my posts are somewhat sporadic.
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  3. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    Exactly. Too many "true believers" believe we should do whatever it takes and damn the cost. Well, that's idiotic. We don't have infinite resources, we have to choose what to spend our money on.
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  5. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Then you'll also recall that these other consensus were overthrown by dint of work producing better more accurate evidence tied up with a theory which made useful predictions. From what I have read, WEgeners original continental drift theory involved the continents literally ploughing through the bedrock, which is a bit silly. THe denialists are not even really at thsi stage, not any more.

    I'm afraid that is not quite to the point- it sounds very like Bjorn Lomborgs deliberately rigged propaganda exercise from a few years ago. However, the Stern report and others have valiantly tried to make sense of dealing with global warming, and so far it doesn't look as if it will be anywhere near as expensive as people think. Richard Tol, an economist who looks into these things, reckons that it will cost less to deal with CO2 than is lost when interest rates are raised.
    Or in other words, our priorities are fucked up, since we're talking about af ew billions that would right here and now, save millions of lives in Africa and elsewhere.
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  7. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    I acknowledge that scientific consensus might be wrong...but the alternative is what? The opinions of the minority of the experts is either just as likely to be wrong as that of the majority, or (I'd suggest) more likely to be wrong.

    Whichever group is right, though, how is *my* picking a side going to help clarify anything? It won't. If reading just one book were enough to show me the right side, then there would not be such a huge number of experts who disagree (unless one thinks there is a vast scientific conspiracy on one side or the other). I can pick a side anyway and then throw my vote behind that position and the politicians will respond to that as if I were an expert on global warming even though I'm not.

    Again, these bookd sjust generate noise that makes it harder for the political system to react to the actual expert opinions, and with respect to issues like these, those really ar the ones that matter. They might be wrong, but they are still better than relying on the opinions of non-experts who only think they know what they're talking about, but who--if they happen to have adopted the correct position at all--have merely stumbled upon the truth by happenstance.

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