Friday, March 23, 2007

Inconvenient viewpoints

"It does not take complicated logic to conclude that if global warming is indeed a moral matter and if it is true that you cannot legislate morality, then it should hold that you cannot legislate global warming."

6 comments:

T. F. Stern said...

The argument regarding legislating morality falls apart if you factor in the minimum wage laws. At what point is a wage considered morally obscene or too low? At some point it must be; $6.50, 7, 9 and so on until we feel that a morally acceptable minimum has been met. The reverse is also up for grabs; at what point is the payment so grandiose as to be obscene? Those CEO’s who walk off with huge multimillion dollar bonus checks compared with the laborers who have to slug it out in the trenches; at what point do we draw the line on the high end. All these are irrelevant arguments in a free market system because we go home at the end of the day having received a fair wage upon which we agreed upon. Morality has been legislated somewhere between $6.50 and $9.00 per hour on the low end; what else could be compared so easily?

Ian Scott said...

The article you linked to is interesting.

So, morality aside.. is "global warming, attributed mainly to carbon fuel burning," likely true or not true?

I find that while there are those who would legislate "morality" in this regard, there are also those who would also assign some "morality" to the debate, and continue to ignore whether or not it is a fact.

It seems many are taking sides on the issue, based on their political beliefs - both the skeptics and the believers.

So, what the fuck IS going on? Is there global warming, contributed by carbon fuel burning, or not?

What I find difficult in this, is that it appears that so many "believe" either side, depending on the "side" they are on, politically.

What IS the real science, and .. let's say that global warming due to carbon fuel burning is a reality... can those who traditionally, depending on their "partisanship," have rejected this, ever accept the possibility of the science being correct, simply based upon the science? And... at the same time, realize that it could be happening, but that does not mean we have to be all "leftists" to find solutions?

I'd kind of like to find out what the preponderance of evidence suggests - but it seems to me that both sides have filled their rhetoric with political partisanship... demanding belief in either one or the other.

MapMaster said...

I guess a comment I left on a previous post will stand as the limit to where I'll go with my beliefs:

"It's all about the science" is the mantra precisely because it's nothing to do with the science. The overwhelming majority of people, and I include myself and presumably yours as well, will rarely get as far as an actual paper and rely instead upon second- or third-hand abstractions of someone else's syntheses of actual science — abstractions of abstractions upon abstractions, etc. At that point, our positions reflect as much as anything personal preferences. For myself, CO2 driving massive climate shifts doesn't pass the smell test of plausibility, but I understand that others might see it differently. The 99.99% of pundits asserting a position on the science itself should admit that they don't actually know a damned thing, and the 0.01% of climate scientists should be careful about the relevance, precision and accuracy of their own bits of knowledge too.

The germane topic, in the absence of certainty about the science, is the response to the issue, of which more certainty can be supposed. With or without dramatic climate shifts in response or not to CO2, political solutions themselves will simply serve political interests. Unproductive jobs will be created to increase dependence on governments, regulations will be created to satisfy vocal constituencies, and taxes will be implemented to enhance revenues — but CO2 emissions will certainly not decrease. Politicians in the last twenty years or so have become particularly adept at continuing regulatory and tax intrusions just within the limits of allowing the economic expansion that pays for them, and there's no reason not to expect that to continue. But should dramatic climate shifts occur, regulations and taxes will certainly hamper the ability of people to adapt to them effectively and efficiently.

If there were any ethical imperatives involved in climate change, why should anyone want political actors to subsume those ethics under political interests? There lies the antithesis of ethics.

Ian Scott said...

Thanks, Mapmaster.

Would you agree that it just might be important enough though, to investigate the actual science, instead of relying on the pundits from whatever point of view one takes, and find out - and be willing to take responsibility?

I absolutely agree with your points in the comment.

But what concerns me is that it just may be possible that many on the "right" or that call themselves libertarians are rejecting any evidence for global warming because of the sources of so much of the rhetoric.

And I write this as a skeptic myself - I'm certainly not attempting to convince anyone of the merits of any arguement for or against GW.

MapMaster said...

Absolutely, Ian, I might as easily have said personal prejudices rather than preferences. I'll be the first to admit that the rhetoric of the climate change crowd itself and alone predisposes me to be a skeptic, but I've also seen first-hand in secondary effect-based climate change research the predilection to highlighting or ignoring certain data to fit in with pre-conceived notions. I would not go so far as to say that this behaviour is intentional, but there was a heck of a lot of money involved even in one small lab on one university campus.

Is it important to investigate the science? Well, it ought to be if one is trying to convince rational people to one side or the other, but on the other hand there seems to be more reward in catering to sentiments than reason. For bystanders, the political consequences of climate change rhetoric certainly provide an incentive to get into the science, but I have to admit that even for one as interested in myself, I don't have the time to go beyond a few chosen summaries and abstracts — there's just far too much out there. But it sure seems to me that there's a lot more questions out there about the science than answers.

Lisa said...

Even assuming the earth is melting, death by regulation is not the solution to the problem.