Author Topic: There is no such thing as climate change...  (Read 4932 times)



rukawa

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Re: There is no such thing as climate change...
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2017, 01:14:20 PM »
https://newrepublic.com/article/118655/theoretical-phyisicist-explains-why-science-not-about-certainty

"Restricting our vision of reality today to just the core content of science or the core content of the humanities is being blind to the complexity of reality, which we can grasp from a number of points of view. The two points of view can teach each other and, I believe, enlarge each other."

If pressed for time, here's a summary: An open mind can go a long way.

Its an excellent article. Let's go off-topic.

I would summarize it somewhat differently. He is basically saying that the problems of science are as much conceptual as they are about fitting theories to data. Science has become divorced from philosophy to such an extent that this conceptual questioning and understanding is dying and what's basically happening is a kind of curve fitting which doesn't really work that well. Steve Keen has made similar points about the problems that have happened when physicists entered economics and created econophysics:

http://www.academia.edu/8020587/Worrying_trends_in_econophysics

Essentially the physicists in econophysics ignore basic concepts in economics completely and create models aren't grounded in any way in an understanding of what actually happens in economies. They are just curve-fitting exercises. Its an awful way to do science.

To me this isn't surprising. I'm not a socialist but here I find myself agreeing with Alfie Kohn (God I really hate that fact) who writes about how rewards and competition narrow people's thinking. Incentives, competition and money in science our narrowing our approach to these problems. In a hugely detrimental way I'm afraid.

Cigarbutt

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Re: There is no such thing as climate change...
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2017, 06:02:58 AM »
ę Let's go off-topic. Ľ

OK.

Interesting link and did not know Alfie Kohn and his work.
Realize that a lot of "choices" that he describes are available in my environment (alternative schools etc).
Optimist but have doubts about spontaneous intrinsic motivation as most of us need a hand (albeit invisible sometimes).

Question: Is economics a science?
Iíve often felt that uncertainties about conceptual weaknesses and generalization issues of economic models are often concealed under the illusory precision of fancy equations.
Hereís a link that offers food for optimism:
https://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2013/nov/06/is-economics-a-science-robert-shiller
BTW, thatís why I think/hope that we will get through the coming energy transition.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 06:37:30 AM by Cigarbutt »

rukawa

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Re: There is no such thing as climate change...
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2017, 09:52:10 AM »
To get back on-topic. I think there might be a better way for us to settle this debate on AGW. Instead of arguing about what the science says...who is right etc, lets do the following:

Tell me what evidence you would need for your beliefs to change

I'll start. I've tried to think of something simple, measurable that would be an un-mistakeable sign that something very unusual was happening, humans were responsible and the effects were dangerous. Right now I already believe C02 warms the Earth and I believe humans are responsible but I don't believe its dangerous.

I don't consider sea level rises dangerous unless the exceed 20mm a year (2m a century). For context, after the last ice age sea levels increases 120 meters over 13000 years or 1m a century on average. Actually I'm not even sure that is dangerous but definitely anything below that wouldn't be cause for concern. The current rate is 4mm a year.

For temperature I would probably need something in the order of greater than 7 degrees of global increase or a rate for 20 years that would imply that increase over 100 years.

Cigarbutt

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Re: There is no such thing as climate change...
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2017, 03:50:31 PM »
"Tell me what evidence you would need for your beliefs to change".

Loaded question with "beliefs" used as an end-point.
Don't have the knowledge base to factually continue this conversation.

But, in terms of uncertain events that could have a major significance, here's a quote from somebody you called brilliant in another thread:

"By "uncertain" knowledge, let me explain, I do not mean merely to distinguish what is known for certain from what is only probable. The game of roulette is not subject, in this sense, to uncertainty; nor is the prospect of a Victorybond being drawn. Or, again, the expectation of life is only slightly uncertain. Even the weather is only moderately uncertain. The sense in which I am using the term is that in which the prospect of a European war is uncertain, or the price of copper and the rate of interest twenty years hence, or the obsolescence of a new invention, or the position of private wealth owners in the social system in 1970. About these matters there is no scientific basis on which to form any calculable probability whatever. We simply do not know. Nevertheless, the necessity for action and for decision compels us as practical men to do our best to overlook this awkward fact and to behave exactly as we should if we had behind us a good Benthamite calculation of a series of prospective advantages and disadvantages, each multiplied by its appropriate probability, waiting to be summed."
(my bold)

I know this is a subjective (or a degrees-of-belief 8)) statistical approach.
You don't have to agree and, for more consensus on the public side, it may take a while before probabilities refine enough.
The race is on.

« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 03:52:49 PM by Cigarbutt »

Cigarbutt

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Re: There is no such thing as climate change...
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2017, 06:38:31 AM »
Here's a link which provides data suggesting that a "climate change" stance should not be necessarily be thought as an equivalent to capitalism demise.

https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/climate-change-crisis-capitalism/

Cevian

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Re: There is no such thing as climate change...
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2018, 10:02:34 PM »
The attached one pager from Nassim Taleb sums up my thinking on this topic.


rukawa

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Re: There is no such thing as climate change...
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2018, 07:28:00 AM »
The attached one pager from Nassim Taleb sums up my thinking on this topic.

I have heard this argument repeatedly but I don't think it makes sense. The argument form itself is strange because appears to get something from nothing. It comes up with a desired course of action based on ignorance of the actual situation. The error made in the argument is the assumption that warming the planet carries risks but not warming the planet carries no risks.

However that isn't the case. We could for instance be avoiding an ice age by warming the planet. In this case the alternative to global warming is catastrophic cooling. Generally speaking the whole precautionary principle argument has similar problems. You always have this default assumption that the status quo is riskless. But that assumption is baseless. So you aren't really getting something from nothing...you are getting something from the assumption that doing nothing carries minimal risk.

I also find it a very strange assumption given the fossil record. The fossil record is hugely discontinuous. What you see is species just disappearing completely and new ones appearing. The original interpretation of this before Darwin was that there were regular catastrophic floods and that God then came in and specially created species through a divine act. But its pretty clear that regardless of interpretation, there are regular naturally occurring events where large numbers of species are wiped out.

Finally I find the whole philosophy of environmentalism to be somewhat incoherent. The basic idea of environmentalism is that there is an undisturbed environment that is this beneficent, ideal place which is highly stable over thousands of years and everything is hunky dory. Then you get this evil humans who "artificially" interfere with this delicate equilibrium disturbing it and causing havoc.

But where did the humans come from? They themselves came from nature. And everything they do is as "natural" as anything else in nature. Saying humans "disturbed" nature is basically the same as saying that nature disturbed itself. And of course it begs a huge question. If nature could produce this horribly disturbing havoc causing species called human beings...why only once? Why could it not have done this many many times. And then why would anybody assume nature is stable? The simplest explanation is there is no stability in nature and there is nothing particularly special or unusual in what humans are doing compared to what happened before.

There are other stupid ideas. Like the idea that if humans misbehave then nature's experiment of humans will by eliminated by nature because she will get angry or something. Nature though has no memory and no will. It can therefore recreate the "failed" human experiment thousands of times either with humans themselves or other species. It also has no sense of a "global optimum"....only local success. For instance, the end point of cancer is the destruction of the host in which the cancer has managed to "win". You would think that nature would learn from this or the cancer would. But that isn't how natural selection works...there is no memory....no concept of past failures. So cancers keep popping up and killing humans even though in the end its a failed strategy...the cancer genes don't really get a chance to propagate beyond the human. Every single time a human is born...cancers have to begin their evolutionary struggle from scratch. But the reason this keeps happening is that the cancer never ever learn...they just keep repeating themselves because it leads to local successes even though in the end it results in a global failure.

My point is that if humans are a tremendously stability destroying species and we happened once...it implies nature is inherently unstable. And if that is the case there is no reason to believe the status quo is safe for us.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 07:35:44 AM by rukawa »