Friday, February 25, 2005

Global Warming Challenge Race

Tom: Alright, let's settle this thing once and for all. Although you are young and thin while I am old and chubby, I hereby challenge you to a 100 yard dash, winner take all. The historic race will take place this Sunday 2/29 at 10:00 AM in the Peninsula Center parking lot. I may run carrying my Starbucks mug, but believe that the wind will be with me.

When you lose, you will promise to forevermore cease talking about global warming. I figure that reducing the verbal output of a lawyer will significantly improve the atmosphere. Imagine the benefit of silencing a two-fer, lawyer and politician. It is my contribution to LA air quality. As to the warming, I will henceforth open all the windows in my house and turn on the air conditioning.

Same with the Porsche.

Be a man! Run for your cause.

ps. Tom is scheduled for surgery to repair his torn hamstring. I may have a chance.

Ralph asked about the PVP News. It was purchased by the Daily Breeze. Will definitely link to our opinion piece.

Outline of Why we are Republicans:

1. Judeo-Christian values (vs moral relativism)
2. Conservative solutions to problems (vs big gov't solutions)
3. Capitalism and free trade (vs gov't regulation and union power)
4. Representative democracy (vs tyrany of judges)
5. Equal opportunity (vs economic equality)
6. Freedom for all (vs isolationism or partnering with dictators)
7. American exceptionalism (vs internationalism)

John and I will appreciate any comments.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Must be my last chance to comment on global warming then ;-).

Surfing the web, I found a page that I like. It associated with the Skeptical Inquirer magazine, and is called "Abuses of Skepticism" and reads in part:

"If it's unwise to take a knee jerk skeptical position about something many smart scientists think will happen (life extension), it's even crazier to deny something that the overwhelming majority of scientists think is already happening. Granted, I fully understand that a small minority of scientists, like Richard Lindzen, still deny that humans are causing climate change through the burning of fossil fuels. These scientists should certainly carry on being skeptical, at least so long as they believe in their own conclusions. But the rest of us ought to recognize that climate science has become increasingly robust over the past decade, and that the scientific community has increasingly spoken with one voice on this issue, even if some uncertainty remains about the extent of the problem.

Let's go over a few facts in order to show that this is so. In early 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body comprised of over 2,500 scientists that's the world's leading authority on global warming, released its third major assessment of the issue. The IPCC concluded that humans are responsible for global warming and that this poses serious future risks. Now, for obvious reasons, this report posed a problem for the Bush administration, which quickly sought a review of the IPCC's findings by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Given the IPCC's lengthy and thorough process, this seemed a rather redundant effort to many. Sure enough, the NAS panel quickly confirmed the IPCC findings, adding still more force to the weight of scientific consensus.

Given this, anyone wishing to challenge the heavily reviewed conclusions of the IPCC and NAS has to overcome a rather staggering burden of proof. That's not to say it can't be done. But for the moment, it hasn't, which means that adopting a skeptical stance towards climate change in the face of overwhelming scientific consensus can hardly be considered the most defensible position. Instead, I would hazard, it amounts to an abuse of skepticism."

7:19 AM  
Blogger Ralph said...

Testy arn't we?

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I put in my smiley, and I was actually in a good mood when I posted that.

I'm afraid it does lead to a troubling series of ideas though. That is, if "science" really does produce the answer that there is a antrhopogenic component to global warming - then will the general public accept that, or will they reject science?

Neal Stephenson (a clever novelst) wrote somehthing that echos my fears:

"For much of the 20th century it was about science and technology. The heyday was the Second World War, when we had not just the Manhattan Project but also the Radiation Lab at MIT and a large cryptology industry all cooking along at the same time. The war led into the nuclear arms race and the space race, which led in turn to the revolution in electronics, computers, the Internet, etc. If the emblematic figures of earlier eras were the pioneer with his Kentucky rifle, or the Gilded Age plutocrat, then for the era from, say, 1940 to 2000 it was the engineer, the geek, the scientist. It’s no coincidence that this era is also when science fiction has flourished, and in which the whole idea of the Future became current. After all, if you’re living in a technocratic society, it seems perfectly reasonable to try to predict the future by extrapolating trends in science and engineering.

It is quite obvious to me that the U.S. is turning away from all of this. It has been the case for quite a while that the cultural left distrusted geeks and their works; the depiction of technical sorts in popular culture has been overwhelmingly negative for at least a generation now. More recently, the cultural right has apparently decided that it doesn’t care for some of what scientists have to say. So the technical class is caught in a pincer between these two wings of the so-called culture war. Of course the broad mass of people don’t belong to one wing or the other. But science is all about diligence, hard sustained work over long stretches of time, sweating the details, and abstract thinking, none of which is really being fostered by mainstream culture."

11:50 AM  
Blogger Ralph said...

I have a different perspective on the failure of this "crisis" to resonate with the general public. I think they are remembering all the past "crises" which weren't. I.E. population explosion (Erlich), running out of resources (Club of Rome), global cooling. There are no doubt more that escape me. All pointing to the limitations of man's understanding and judgement.
AND Back to bills outline, How about including the individual over the group as a principle?

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I think Erlich and Club of Rome were very silly too.

I guess the thing is that I take these one at a time, and don't lump them together as "all scientists are wrong" or something like that.

On the collective/individual thing, I think we could admit that different political groups have a "tool bag" of solutions, and that (given human nature) they might be more accepting of "threats" for which they have a tool.

For the problem of economic progress, I think "individualists" have excellent tools (free people, free markets).

For other problems, like national defense, we generally pull from the "collective toolbag" and create a national army. Etc.

The question is when a NEW problem comes down the pike, can we look at it rationally, or we reject it just because it doesn't fit our toolbag.

In the case of GW, I'm afraid many are in denial precisely because they think a solution would empower the other side (come from "their toolbag").

That is not rational, but it is of course completely human.

6:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, I've described myself as a conservative and a Republican. I still feel that way, but truth be known, I've taken a couple "political compass" tests out on the web that score me dead center.

I figured out later why that was. They asked questions that attempted to ferret out your hard and fast rules. They would ask questions like "do you agree that government should never ..." or "do you agree that society should always ..."

People with a primarily political orientation will choose their always/nevers. People who are a little more pragmatic will think of the exceptions.

"Collective action" as a concept actually feels bad to me, but I can remember all the exceptions we already take, that we already value.

I remember those exceptions as I go forward.

6:21 AM  
Blogger Ralph said...

Pragmatism is good. So is suspicion about things everybody believes.

1:11 PM  

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