Friday, February 5, 2010

The return of critical thinking?

I can only hope. A poll today published by the BBC shows that the Brits have become a little more skeptical about the causes of climate change. Perhaps the cold winter, perhaps the recent bad press (climategate), whatever, people are taking a more critical approach to the hype brought on by the priesthood of Global Warming.
Naturally there was concern raised by British government officials and university types, but I think this is a healthy turn of events.
People may now step back and view this issue in proper perspective and compare it to other problems that may be more important, immediate and more easily remedied. 


  1. Polls that ask ignorant people about complex scientific questions are pointless. The results of the survey are most likely due to the 'climategate' non-scandal and a cold winter due to normal changes in the arctic wind patterns. Northern countries were colder than normal but the arctic was warmer - simple heat transfer, not a sign of cooling.

    Regardless, new electricity grids are going ahead despite the desire by many to remain ignorant, not skeptical. Skepticism involves looking at the facts dispassionately - something both sides are guilty of, but the denialists are far more vocal and better funded (who makes better money than energy companies?).

    Have a look at Peter Sinclair's latest video series switching from addressing climate crocks to actual solutions even a libertarian would love:

    Nothing could be more liberty-inspiring than energy independence.

  2. Unfortunately it is the "ignorant people" that will end up paying for the fix to the complex scientific problems. The so called solutions always require some sort of coercion on the masses by the ruling class(who inevitably enrich themselves.

  3. I recommend the book, "Collapse - How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" by Jared Diamond. In particular the story of the collapse of the Easter Islanders is an important lesson for what's happening today. Competing groups eventually wiped out all the trees and their society collapsed (no coercion of the masses). As long as there is profit and demand, the free marketers will strip the resources as fast as possible.

    However, in Japan, hundreds of years ago the leaders did throw down edicts that resulted in protection of their forests and the society survived and thrived.

    As usual though, the truth is somewhere between these extremes.

  4. I believe people will act in accordance with their rational self-interest (if allowed). It makes no sence to cut down an entire forest if your self-interest is to gain a lively-hood from forestry. The best protection for natural resources is private ownership and laws that protect the owners. You don't need to go to Easter Island - compare Haiti to the Dominican. Different rules on the same island - hugely different outcomes.


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