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A German team of scientists recently did a drilling in the Antarctica (ANDRILL) :

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=93809

(Unfortunately I couldn't find an english source where the comment from Kuhn was included)

Die in den Sedimenten entdeckten Fossilien deuten auf wärmere Verhältnisse hin als bislang angenommen. Der Blick in diesen Teil der Erdgeschichte zeigt dabei durchaus wichtige Parallelen zum heutigen Klimageschehen: "Damals war die Konzentration des Treibhausgases Kohlendioxid in der Atmosphäre ähnlich hoch wie heute", erläuterte Kuhn.

http://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/antarktis2.html

rough translation:

The fossils found in the sediments indicate that it was warmer than it was believed until recently. Looking at that part of Earth's history shows important parallels to the current climate: "Back then the concentration of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide was as high as it is today", explained Kuhn.

Final results from the expedition are expected in 2-3 years.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was thinking of a hypothethetical question for the Objectivists who believe global warming is a hoax (which appears to be just about everyone here apparently):

What would your reaction be if somehow the evidence was proffered that proved beyond a reasonable doubt that man-made GW is real? Let's not even use the worst case scenarios, let's just say that the more moderate predictions of the global impact of GW are in fact occuring right now. What should be done about it? What could be done about it? What kind of approach to such a crisis would be morally acceptable within the Objectivist worldview?

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If man is responsible for global warming then the climate is very unstable. This means that humanity has built a working 'climate machine' and that we can also influence the climate in the other direction just as easily. So: No approach, wait for donations and technology that would enable us to influence the climate.

Edited by Clawg
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If man is responsible for global warming then the climate is very unstable. This means that humanity has built a working 'climate machine' and that we can also influence the climate in the other direction just as easily. So: No approach, wait for donations and technology that would enable us to influence the climate.

I'm not so sure this is donations/private industry solutions issue. If I were an aspiring climatological engineer, and got the donations to build, say, a high-altitude sulfur ion dispensing rocket (one solution already proposed, to spur cloud formation and thus increase albedo), would you be okay with me firin' that sucker up, and tryin' her out?

What if I sent it up and somehow managed to create a superstorm that swept into Southern Cal and killed 100,000 people? (Okay, maybe a bad example)

I think an argument exists to regulate any attempts to affect weather until simulations can be run, and small scale experiments set up. The introduction of controlled inputs to the Earth's atmosphere would take our climate models out of the reactive phase, and into the proactive. This implies a gov't role, and properly so, since destructive weather, although unintentional, must be regarded as a use of force against fellow citizens without their consent.

But, yes, I agree that man is the proper solvent for such a problem.

The question is an interesting one, because it leads us naturally to the more general question: If warming was shown be as serious a threat as Algore claims in his schlockumockery, should we only act if it's found that man caused it? Are we willing to see Northern Europe and most of North America glaciate for the sake of preserving Mother Nature's will?

The Algores of the world seem to be saying that if it's man's fault, we should place our minds on the sacrificial altar, rather than address the problem rationally. But, if it's nature's fault, then that's just hunky-dory, and we all just have to live with it.

I reject both propositions, and, if GW turns out to be a serious threat, regardless of its cause, I see this as a tremendous opportunity to finally tame one of the most unpredictable forces of nature using our rational minds. The knowledge gained would likely lead to innumerable new opportunities to expand the creative and productive potential of man.

Edited by agrippa1
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This made me chuckle bitterly today (from a Starbuck coffee cup):

“So-called ‘global warming’ is just a secret ploy by wacko tree-huggers to make America energy independent, clean our air and water, improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicles, kick-start 21st-century industries, and make our cities safe and more livable. Don’t let them get away with it!”

Chip Giller, founder of Grist.org

This just captures so perfectly the arrogant self-righteousness of environmentalists. It's as if they're saying, "C'mon, all we want to do is make your life better (just ignore the fact that we'll destroy your economy and hobble your technological progress in the process of achieving this nirvana)".

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This just captures so perfectly the arrogant self-righteousness of environmentalists. It's as if they're saying, "C'mon, all we want to do is make your life better (just ignore the fact that we'll destroy your economy and hobble your technological progress in the process of achieving this nirvana)".

Of course, and the rest of us idiots are just too ignorant to comprehend all of the good that they're trying to do on our behalf. :confused:

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This made me chuckle bitterly today (from a Starbuck coffee cup):

This just captures so perfectly the arrogant self-righteousness of environmentalists. It's as if they're saying, "C'mon, all we want to do is make your life better (just ignore the fact that we'll destroy your economy and hobble your technological progress in the process of achieving this nirvana)".

It’s pure pretense. I think that needs to be understood. They’ve got nothing but ridicule at the end of the day, and they know it. If they really had a solid point, and a major insight, that’d be great, because I love learning new and important ideas, but it’s all hot air. These are low-brows pretending to be high-brows.

But, then, let's dissect the statement:

So-called ‘global warming’ is just a secret ploy by wacko tree-huggers

It's a weak claim, with no solid science behind it. Read this thread for details.

to make America energy independent

Not their goal. Environmentalists have attacked every form of energy, including solar (we're taking it from the plants!), no matter how safe or efficient. If you want "energy independence", then the solution is to free up the economy, there is no doubt that energy would then be far cheaper and more available. Micro-nuclear plants are a great example of what we're missing out on.

clean our air and water

Air and water are very clean. Perhaps in some basin cities, such as Indianapolis and LA, there is a local problem, but over all air is much cleaner today than it was 30 and 40 years ago, and even more so than it was in the 1800s, when factories and houses really put out the black soot. We're hardly in a dire crisis here. Still, nuclear power is very clean and environmentalists have kept us from building nuclear power plants since the late 1970s.

improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicles

That's a nice goal and the free market is taking care of it. Cars have been becoming more fuel efficient. Fuel efficiency is to the advantage of the consumer, because he can then pay less to go further on a gallon of gas. However, fuel efficiency is not the only thing to consider when buying a vehicle, nor is there anything particularly special about it in the big picture. A vehicle that is less fuel efficient can provide benefits too (fun, hauling capacity, etc.). It all depends upon the individual's needs. If fuel starts to run out, then prices will follow, and alternative sources will be found.

kick-start 21st-century industries

There is nothing more eye-rolling than an environmentalist pretending to be pro-industry. All environmentalists have done is create more and more red tape, and made it more difficult for industries and thus more difficult for people generally. In fact, their attack on energy is well calculated, because nothing, except a direct attack on all freedoms, can cripple the free market more than an attack on energy. Take away electricity and what happens to society?

make our cities safe and more livable.

I assume he means because they'd be "cleaner". Since they will be crippling the economy, they will harm us immeasurably, because we will be less wealthy, and less able to build the infra-structure to make our lives safer, and less able to pay for the goods and services required to improve our lives individually. When people are less wealthy, they are less able to survive. Just look at the third world as an example. Thomas Sowell has written on this elsewhere.

Don’t let them get away with it!

You may feel comfortable lying through your teeth, but I see this as life and death. Your rhetoric is empty, and that’s what comes through.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've looked around these forums and found something interesting - Objectivists don't seem to believe in global warming. Now normally philosophies don't hold particular stances on the existence of wholly natural weather phenomena :D, and assuming that the majority of Objectivists are not climatologists, one would not expect to see them as a group lean in any particular direction. So what is the underlying explanation for this statistic? Is there some common principle being applied?

(note: I am only half-way through Atlas Shrugged - maybe this is something covered in the 50-page speech I've heard about :P)

Edited by brian0918
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I've looked around these forums and found something interesting - Objectivists don't seem to believe in global warming. Now normally philosophies don't hold particular stances on the existence of wholly natural weather phenomena :D , and assuming that the majority of Objectivists are not climatologists, one would not expect to see them as a group lean in any particular direction. So what is the underlying explanation for this statistic? Is there some common principle being applied?

(note: I am only half-way through Atlas Shrugged - maybe this is something covered in the 50-page speech I've heard about :P )

I've noticed something different. The general thought here seems to be that anthropogenic global warming (man-made global warming) isn't happening not that global warming isn't at all.

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I've looked around these forums and found something interesting - Objectivists don't seem to believe in global warming. Now normally philosophies don't hold particular stances on the existence of wholly natural weather phenomena :D, and assuming that the majority of Objectivists are not climatologists, one would not expect to see them as a group lean in any particular direction. So what is the underlying explanation for this statistic? Is there some common principle being applied?

(note: I am only half-way through Atlas Shrugged - maybe this is something covered in the 50-page speech I've heard about :P)

You're right: a philosophy will only provide the framework by which a person uses to think and therefor to act, it will not provide direct answers to concrete issues. It provides the principles; you provide the "sweat equity" of thought.

Regarding global warming: you have to be careful to understand exactly what the issue is...I think it has nothing to do with rising temperatures. Frankly, I've yet to encounter any intelligible link between what they say is happening and what they say is causing it. Most of their conclusions are drawn from hasty generalizations and notions of man that are irrational. They move directly from their "science" to an appeal to force.

Their actions reveal their motives. Man uses thought and action to produce the values that support and improve his life. This involves changing and exploiting nature. Their answer to the "global warming" problem (if indeed it is warming) is to confuse his thoughts and restrict his actions.

I'm capable of finding out the facts and understand that the earth has gone through countless cycles of warming & cooling. Is mans activities contributing? Doubtful. Can mans activities reverse the trend? Not unless we put a thermostat on the sun!

Regards,

Merc

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*** Mod's note: Merged into an earlier thread - sN ***

 

If there is one, what is the Objectivist view on global warming? I found a section on ecology in the Ayn Rand Lexicon but nothing dealing specifically with this. Searching through the forums, most seem to believe it does not exist or is grossly exaggerated - is this correct, and if so, what rationale are leading to this conclusion?

Edited by softwareNerd
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Objectivism being Ayn Rand's philosophy, an "official position" would have to come from her writing. The mis-concept "global warming" was invented / promulgated after her death, so she didn't speak of it (as she also had nothing to say about the internets).

The way an Objectivist should approach the question is to first identify the referent -- what is the referent of "global warming". It's a high-level abstraction, referring to a supposed significant trend for the temperature of Earth to increase, due to the activities of man. There are many reasons to not accept that there is "global warming". First, it has not been reliably demonstrated that there is such a trend of global temperature increase. A difference in average measured temperature from 2006 to 2007 isn't a "trend". Second, and most importantly, it also has not been established (and here I don't even think there has been any attempt to try to establish this) that such a "trend" is due to the actions of man and is not due to natural factors that lead to temperature fluctuation without the aid of man. If you were to graph scientifically-conjectured temperature on Earth over a long period of time (a hundred thousand years or so), you would not be able to discern any difference between the past 50 years and other times in the past when man had not even discovered pants.

If it is proven that man's actions are causing a temperature increase on Earth, and if it is proven that such a temperature increase is inimical to man's survival (there isn't any substantial argument to that effect), then rational men would diagnose the exact cause of this problem and would make an appropriate choice, based on reason. Objectivists oppose initiating force against men which is based on irrational fear, and that is what "global warming" as a political movement is -- the initiation of force against men of the mind, based on an irrational fear.

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Great reply!

Objectivism being Ayn Rand's philosophy, an "official position" would have to come from her writing. The mis-concept "global warming" was invented / promulgated after her death, so she didn't speak of it (as she also had nothing to say about the internets).

In the Lexicon they do quote Leonard Peikoff in some places, so I thought maybe he would have a stance that could be quoted there.

The way an Objectivist should approach the question is to first identify the referent -- what is the referent of "global warming". It's a high-level abstraction, referring to a supposed significant trend for the temperature of Earth to increase, due to the activities of man.

For me, it is simpler than that. Whether or not it is due to the activities of man does not matter to me. We'd still be screwed regardless of the origins of the warming - so we would still want to do something about it in any case (unless our goal in the end is simply to say "we were not to blame"). So I agree with your statement, minus the phrase "due to the activities of man". Does that make sense?

First, it has not been reliably demonstrated that there is such a trend of global temperature increase. A difference in average measured temperature from 2006 to 2007 isn't a "trend".

This oft-cited graph shows the global surface temperature anomally since 1850, relative to the average temperature from 1961-1990. So there seems to be data supporting a trend. Whether it is reliable or not, I don't know, but I am left at the mercy of the climatologists to do their job well, as I know nothing about climatology - just as I am left at the mercy of my physician, or the engineer designing a bridge, etc. Until better data from experts says otherwise, I can't come to any other conclusion.

Second, and most importantly, it also has not been established (and here I don't even think there has been any attempt to try to establish this) that such a "trend" is due to the actions of man and is not due to natural factors that lead to temperature fluctuation without the aid of man.

If you were to graph scientifically-conjectured temperature on Earth over a long period of time (a hundred thousand years or so), you would not be able to discern any difference between the past 50 years and other times in the past when man had not even discovered pants.

As in my first statement, for me it's of no concern whether or not man is causing the warming. I don't even care whether this is part of some natural periodicity. A naturally-occurring asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. We would want to stop another such asteroid from wiping us out, just as we would want to stop some naturally-occurring warming that could put whole countries underwater, or generally screw with life on earth.

The planet/sun don't care about us or the rest of life. They were just as apathetic before the first single-celled organisms came about, and won't notice our departure.

If it is proven that man's actions are causing a temperature increase on Earth, and if it is proven that such a temperature increase is inimical to man's survival (there isn't any substantial argument to that effect), then rational men would diagnose the exact cause of this problem and would make an appropriate choice, based on reason.

So should we do nothing unless and until we correctly deduce the cause and correct solution? And what if that never happens, or we are too late? Unless the goal is simply to say "we weren't to blame" or "we couldn't figure it out in time", I would think we would want to do something about it even if it is not the best solution.

Objectivists oppose initiating force against men which is based on irrational fear, and that is what "global warming" as a political movement is -- the initiation of force against men of the mind, based on an irrational fear.

I agree that there are groups misusing the data for political purposes. However, the consequences of global warming, if the predictions are accurate and the trend continues, are cause for alarm. If I have a tumor and my physician predicts that it will spread if I don't do X, Y, and Z, I will want to do all of these suggestions even if the end result is that they did not stop the spread, and even if it later turns out he was looking at someone else's x-rays when he diagnosed the existence of the tumor. :D

Edited by brian0918
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Brian,

You started a different thread earlier entitle "Global Warming?". That thread was merged with an already active thread on the same topic called "Global Warming". Now you have started a new thread discussing the same thing.

How many threads do we need to discuss the same topic?

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The point which I take out of the 'global warming' movement is that man can have unforseen effect on his environment and man should remain cognizant of that fact. Whether or not global warming is real remains in the realm of climate science, not in the realm of politics, regardless of what the empty-suited gangster Al Goreleone would like to believe.

I don't see a huge problem developing, but I am no scientist. Anyway I remain committed to my belief that if the planet does become inhabitable, the human race will find a way to create society elsewhere.

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Brian,

You started a different thread earlier entitle "Global Warming?". That thread was merged with an already active thread on the same topic called "Global Warming". Now you have started a new thread discussing the same thing.

How many threads do we need to discuss the same topic?

I thought it was deleted. My post is a separate issue from that other one, which is more about the details: the research, scientist polls, whether man is the cause, etc. I wanted to examine the fundamentals of Objectivism that deal with this issue.

Edited by brian0918
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Whether or not it is due to the activities of man does not matter to me. We'd still be screwed regardless of the origins of the warming - so we would still want to do something about it in any case (unless our goal in the end is simply to say "we were not to blame").
The point is that the buzz about global warming in fact is a political blame-game -- it presupposes blaming man. If there is some temperature-increasing trend, it might be of concern (then again it might not). But "global warming" now means "the fault of man".
So should we do nothing unless and until we correctly deduce the cause and correct solution?
No, I would say that you are free to do whatever you think is best for you, as long as you respect the rights of others. If you wish to eschew meat or live in the dark because you think it's good for the planet, you have that right. I personally require lighting and a good steak every so often.
If I have a tumor and my physician predicts that it will spread if I don't do X, Y, and Z, I will want to do all of these suggestions even if the end result is that they did not stop the spread
Bad analogy. A better analogy is "if someone tells you that drinking milk might kill you, without proof". If my grandmother had balls, she'd be my grandfather. If you want to give up drinking milk because of a silly unsupported claim, or for no reason at all, be my guest.
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The point is that the buzz about global warming in fact is a political blame-game -- it presupposes blaming man. If there is some temperature-increasing trend, it might be of concern (then again it might not). But "global warming" now means "the fault of man".

Maybe on CNN or Fox News it means that, but I've never considered it to be that way. Whether or not it's man's fault doesn't matter. What does matter is that the data indicates a trend that could be detrimental and that we could potentially do something about.

No, I would say that you are free to do whatever you think is best for you, as long as you respect the rights of others.

The problem is that if global warming is real and the trend continues, the only way it can be counteracted is through the help of everyone, not just individual people. If other people reject the data, and refuse to help alleviate the situation (or worse, potentially help global warming along), am I left to sit back and say, "hey, it's their right"? Aren't they intruding on my and everyone else's survival? If Person B sees the situation as "your life of excess is contributing to the destruction of the planet, and thus violating my right to life" and Person D sees the situation as "your global warming laws prevent my living however I want, and thus violate my freedom of choice", what does Objectivism say about what to do in this situation? Whose right/freedom trumps the other's?

[note: I did not realize until after writing this that I used the phrases "freedom of choice" and "right to life" in the same example :dough:]

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Actually, Ayn Rand did mention global warming back in the 1970s, in an interview. She used the phrase "the so called hot house effect". I believe it was in an interview with Edwin Newmann, in which she made the amazingly accurate assessment, paraphrasing from memory, "Environmentalists use the prestige of science to scare people."

At that time there was a global cooling scare (not nearly as hyped), and she mentioned the global warming scare, and how you can't have it both ways.

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The problem is that if global warming is real and the trend continues, the only way it can be counteracted is through the help of everyone, not just individual people. If other people reject the data,

I don't rejected "the data". I've seen endless graphs as have the best atmospheric scientists in the world, and they don't see this danger you refer to. The temperature today is not what it was in the middle ages, nor during pre-Roman times, when it was clearly warmer. What stands out is that in the last 8000 years the coldest period was about 150 years ago. Not to mention the fact that the temperature trend has been flat since 1998.

When people use the phrase "Warmest year on record", they are only looking at a short record, probably a hundred years or so. They aren't looking at the full record.

We have a whole thread devoted to this where facts have been sighted, and I doubt you have nearly the knowledge of a Lindzen or a Singer on the matter, anyway.

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Actually, Ayn Rand did mention global warming back in the 1970s, in an interview. She used the phrase "the so called hot house effect". I believe it was in an interview with Edwin Newmann, in which she made the amazingly accurate assessment, paraphrasing from memory, "Environmentalists use the prestige of science to scare people."

At that time there was a global cooling scare (not nearly as hyped), and she mentioned the global warming scare, and how you can't have it both ways.

I don't believe this reply adds value to the discussion. Every viewpoint has its extremists, and scientific theories are constantly replaced as better data is gathered. Please try to address the questions at the end of my reply.

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