Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Earth 2020: three outcomes to global warming

Rate this topic


DavidV
 Share

Recommended Posts

George Reisman (who is a libertarian but an admirer of Objectivism) posted up an article that addresses the topic under discussion:

...Keeping all this in mind, it follows that it is absolutely perilous for human beings to allow themselves to be guided by policies recommended by the environmental movement, especially when doing so would impose great deprivation or cost, such as would be entailed in having to make radical reductions in carbon dioxide emissions to combat global warming. Nothing could be more absurd or dangerous than to take advice on how to improve one’s life and well-being from those who regard one’s wealth and happiness as a source of harm, who accord one the status of vermin, and who wish one dead as the means of preserving nature’s alleged intrinsic values. Indeed, not only Mr. Graber, but also other prominent environmentalists have expressed a wish for human deaths on a scale that far surpasses all those caused by the Nazis and Communists combined.

The danger of accepting environmentalist claims, it must be stressed, applies irrespective of the scientific or academic credentials of an individual. If an alleged scientific expert believes in the intrinsic value of nature, then to seek his advice is equivalent to seeking the advice of a medical doctor who was on the side of the germs rather than the patient, if such a thing can be imagined. It is the equivalent of a Jew asking the medical advice of a Dr. Josef Mengele.

(emphasis mine)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 53
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

So it is a problem of possible bias? Believing in an intrinsic value of nature doesn't mean you can't do good science, but it might mean you will fabricate research to be consistant with your ideoligical position?

Couldn't the same be said of scientists who think nature has no intrinsic value having a bias in favor of fabricating anti-environmentalist research?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So it is a problem of possible bias? Believing in an intrinsic value of nature doesn't mean you can't do good science, but it might mean you will fabricate research to be consistant with your ideoligical position?

Couldn't the same be said of scientists who think nature has no intrinsic value having a bias in favor of fabricating anti-environmentalist research?

I think you are missing the point.

If you were Jewish would you allow yourself to be treated by and take pills proscribed by Dr. Josef Mengele? Let's say he is a great doctor and NOBODY doubts his medical abilities. Aren't his medical and scientific qualifications besides the point if he wants to see you dead?

The leaders of the environmentalist movement have been very explicit in stating that they wish to see us dead and that they regard human beings as a blight on the planet. Regardless of whatever scientific credentials such a person has, would you take political and policy recommendations from someone who wishes to see you dead on the basis that he has "credentials?"

To answer your question, no, just because someone subscribes to such an ideology does not mean that they are not capable of doing good science. But what difference does it make? Such people want to see us dead - and they are actively proposing policies towards that end.

If some highly reputable scientist could demonstrate that Vladimir's death and the subsequent medical research on his body (let's say you have very unique genetics and physiology) could objectively provide some sort of alleged scientific benefit towards some allegedly noble event - would you therefore volunteer to be strapped in and give him permission to inject the poison? That is basically what taking the policy recommendations of environmentalists amounts to.

Reisman's point is that even if the scientists could allegedly prove "global warming" - it does not make any difference. Even if it was allegedly proven, it does not follow that we should, therefore, commit mass suicide which is what the environmental movement is basically demanding via their hostility towards technology.

Edited by Dismuke
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vladimir -

Here is an interview with a very famous scientist. It is not about global warming - but he is an environmentalist.

Read what he has to say. Ask yourself if this is a person concerned about your life, liberty or happiness. Or if you were hit by a bus tomorrow, would he regard it as a mixed blessing because, while your inability to consume additional resources would be a great thing, the sort of stuff that funeral homes inject in bodies might have all sorts of possible consequences to the soil and water table?

http://www.reason.com/news/show/30894.html

Pretty disgusting. Would you give serious consideration to any sort of policy recommendations made by this guy on grounds that he is an "expert" and a "scientist"? Would you even listen to a such a person - or would you run like hell the moment he walked into the room?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So it is a problem of possible bias?

Yes, but it goes much deeper than that. They have declared, openly, that actual, scientific truth is secondary to ideological concerns. That "even if" global warming isn't true, they must all spread the idea of it anyway, because we must limit growth and industry on principle regardless of what they do to the so-called "environment." Thus, they must do everything in their power to squash any study or claim that is contrary to global warming, regardless of the truth.

And that is all in keeping and following from the ideological tenet that nature has intrinsic value; because if it does, then scientific fact doesn't matter; facts are things which matter only if you value man's life.

Couldn't the same be said of scientists who think nature has no intrinsic value having a bias in favor of fabricating anti-environmentalist research?

I know you're trying to say, "well, aren't the people who value man's life biased, too?" But you haven't really thought through that statement. How is valuing the life of man instead of untouched nature a "bias?" Isn't that like someone warning that a meteor is going to hit the earth being criticized because he has a "bias" of being concerned that the meteor will kill humans? Shouldn't we listen to this other scientist who is a staunch advocate of meteors' rights, who assures us that there is no meteor?

In fact, a "bias" of valuing man is no bias at all. Quite the opposite: it is a requirement of objective truth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess what I am looking at is the split between research and policy advice. Are we worried that the research is tainted or that the policy advice is wrong? IE, you can have an environmentalist scientist who does good research but gives bad policy advice. This is basically the Dr. Mengele problem. We aren't really doubting whether Mengele can correctly judge that some disease exists in a jewish patient. But we think that his policy choices (jews are valueless) will lead to his giving bad advice on how to treat the patient. Thus it seems in any given situation, the better we are able to separate objective research from policy conclusions, the more weight we can give the research.

I think there is the possibility of bias even for those who do not believe nature has an intrinsic value for one reason. This is that in the environmental context, it is more advantagious for this type of person (we can call them non-environmentalists, or Objectivists, etc.) to conclude that global warming (or any other putative harm) doesn't exist than for them to say that the harm does exist.

Saying that the harm doesn't exist is essentially the strongest conclusion they have. Not only does it mean that the environmentalists are wrong that there is a harm, but also that the policy choices they advice should be ignored because the underlying harm doesn't exist.

It is likewise less advantagious for such a scientist to hold that some environmental harm exists, but that they disagree with the environmentalists as to the solution or policy implications.

For example, take global warming. It is better for the Objectivists to say that global warming is a hoax and there is no harm or human cause than for them to say global warming is real but policy choices such as Kyoto, gas taxes, etc are the wrong response to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there is the possibility of bias even for those who do not believe nature has an intrinsic value for one reason. This is that in the environmental context, it is more advantagious for this type of person (we can call them non-environmentalists, or Objectivists, etc.) to conclude that global warming (or any other putative harm) doesn't exist than for them to say that the harm does exist.

It isn't at all adventageous for a rational person to pretend that an actual threat of harm does not exist. If such a threat DOES exist, then the rational person wants to know about it so he can deal with it.

Refusing to give any sort of credibility or sanction to the Joseph Mengalas of the environmental movement is not the same thing as denying any sort of actual harm. Someone first has to prove that such harm actually exists - and if you pay very close attention, even most global warming advocate scientists do not make that claim. Most admit that it has yet to be proven - but we need to act as if it were true because of the allegedly dire consequences if it were.

A rational person who refused to recognize environmentalists for what they are, by contrast, IS an example of pretending that a GENUINE threat of harm does not exist.

For example, take global warming. It is better for the Objectivists to say that global warming is a hoax and there is no harm or human cause than for them to say global warming is real but policy choices such as Kyoto, gas taxes, etc are the wrong response to it.

I don't think that most Objectivists have much of an opinion as to whether the climate is warming, cooling or remaining more or less stable. And whatever the answer is, there is no reason for them to say that any such proven findings are a hoax. It will simply be a fact of reality. What Objectivists are saying is a hoax is "global warming" - which, as I mentioned in a previous posting - is NOT the same thing as the purely scientific study of climate change.

Edited by Dismuke
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It isn't at all adventageous for a rational person to pretend that an actual threat of harm does not exist. If such a threat DOES exist, then the rational person wants to know about it so he can deal with it.

I agree. But bias can exist apart from a person's rationality. In fact, bias can influence people on a sub-conscious level at times. Also, we have to assume that most people are not rational all of the time anyway.

Refusing to give any sort of credibility or sanction to the Joseph Mengalas of the environmental movement is not the same thing as denying any sort of actual harm. Someone first has to prove that such harm actually exists - and if you pay very close attention, even most global warming advocate scientists do not make that claim. Most admit that it has yet to be proven - but we need to act as if it were true because of the allegedly dire consequences if it were.

I agree. The science is key. If somone is predicting harm or wants governmental action but can't back of their claims scientifically, then of course their opinion should be discounted.

I don't think that most Objectivists have much of an opinion as to whether the climate is warming, cooling or remaining more or less stable. And whatever the answer is, there is no reason for them to say that any such proven findings are a hoax. It will simply be a fact of reality. What Objectivists are saying is a hoax is "global warming" - which, as I mentioned in a previous posting - is NOT the same thing as the purely scientific study of climate change.

When I referred to the harms/human causation I was referring to global warming rather than natural/cyclical climate change. I would hold that Objectivists have a bias against a factual finding that humans are causing climate change (aka global warming.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess what I am looking at is the split between research and policy advice. Are we worried that the research is tainted or that the policy advice is wrong? IE, you can have an environmentalist scientist who does good research but gives bad policy advice. This is basically the Dr. Mengele problem.

No, you have not yet grasped the full issue.

You can't separate research from policy advice when the subject of study is precisely what the bias is about. This isn't about Dr. Mengele producing a study on heart disease. It's about Dr. Mengele producing a study which claims that Jews cause cancer.

When you have someone who declares ahead of time that:

1) He hates the Jews and his goal is to wipe them from the earth

and

2) Scientific fact takes a back seat to this goal

...then what exactly is the status of his claim?

Finally, Objectivists have no incentive to be "biased" toward man not causing climate change. Objectivism clearly shows that reality will always come back to hurt you if you ignore it. If there really were man-made climate change, we would be discredited if we acted to hide or cover it up. If man made global warming existed, we would be out there warning about it, and about how unrestricted technological progress is our only way to solve it, just like in this article where Reisman hypothetically addresses that point. Because even if these fruitcakes were right about GW, they are totally ignorant of economics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When you have someone who declares ahead of time that:

1) He hates the Jews and his goal is to wipe them from the earth

and

2) Scientific fact takes a back seat to this goal

...then what exactly is the status of his claim?

As I said above, the claims of such people should be disregarded. However, not all scientists studying climate change/global warming fall into that category. There isn't this bipolarity of scientists where either you are a rabid environmentalists who don't care what the numbers say or else an objectivist scientist who properly sees no inherent value in nature and conducts methodic, reasoned research. There are a whole lot of scientists out there who either think humans might be the agent of climate change or else think at least in some instances humans are changing the environment. Such people are not necessarily saying "scientific fact takes a back seat."

Finally, Objectivists have no incentive to be "biased" toward man not causing climate change. Objectivism clearly shows that reality will always come back to hurt you if you ignore it. If there really were man-made climate change, we would be discredited if we acted to hide or cover it up. If man made global warming existed, we would be out there warning about it, and about how unrestricted technological progress is our only way to solve it, just like in this article where Reisman hypothetically addresses that point. Because even if these fruitcakes were right about GW, they are totally ignorant of economics.

I think we will have to agree to disagree about this. All humans have bias to some degree. When dealing with an ideology (such as Objectivism) humans are no different. Objectivists are biased in favor of Objectivist principles/claims and against possible facts or theories opposed to Objectivism. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it is just the result of having any sort of personal or institutional philosophy/ideology. The alternative is to evaluate every single issue and fact independantly and without the benefit of a coherent and overarching framework, which is obviously unworkable.

Thus I think it is dangerous to think that Objectivists have no bias in this issue. They do, the question is whether it is influencing their objective study of the facts. In this case it may not be. But the danger is there and it is important for anybody studying an issue such as global warming to be aware of all the potential bias of various sources.

For example, I often read the New York Times. The paper obviously has a leftist bias in many instances, but because I am aware of that bias I am also able filter the conclusions I draw from what is written there. It would be dangerous to read the Times or any other publication or source without being aware of potential bias, because then you will likely be unable to separate what is objectively true from what might have been influenced by the personal opinions of the source.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bias? You mean: upholding what one knows to be true? Because it sounds like you're implying that nobody can know anything, but we all have arbitrary principles stuck in our head, and we just stick to those principles regardless of the facts (at least until the facts become too contradictory).

I am implying nothing of the sort. By bias I specifically mean:

"A preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment."

I am not saying that nobody can know anything, but rather that people generally have a bias in favor of what they individually hold to be true. This bias may inhibit impartial judgment of issues which might threaten this set of individual beliefs. In part this is because we usually judge new sensory/factual information in the context of what we already believe to be true. (the "coherence theory" of truth) This is why you are not going to see an Objectivist lending much weight to a claim that aliens influenced the 2000 presidential election, or that snake healing cured a sick boy. Conversely it is why a Christian will not lend much weight to a claim that Buddhism is the one true religion, or why a Communist will not lend much weight to a claim that capitalism benefits the proletariat.

Edited by Vladimir Berkov
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think we will have to agree to disagree about this.

Until you can bring yourself to understand why Objectivism was called Objectivism, we are going to have to disagree. Your "everyone is biased" viewpoint is based on the idea that objectivity is impossible, and I do not accept that premise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Until you can bring yourself to understand why Objectivism was called Objectivism, we are going to have to disagree. Your "everyone is biased" viewpoint is based on the idea that objectivity is impossible, and I do not accept that premise.

Perhaps you are misunderstanding the idea of "bias." The fact that sources of possible bias exist doesn't mean that objectivity is impossible, anymore than the fact that human sensory perception is not omniscient/infallable means objectivity is impossible. In each case, it is simply something that must be taken into account during the pursuit of objectivity.

Edited by Vladimir Berkov
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps you are misunderstanding the idea of "bias."

No, I understand what you mean.

In each case, it is simply something that must be taken into account during the pursuit of objectivity.
(emphasis mine)

No, I don't agree that it must be taken into account. People aren't necessarily biased. Bad ideologies cause bias in a specific way, that can be shown by examining their philosophical hierarchy. Once you go beyond "people are biased" to understanding the cause of why, you will grasp that bias has a specific cause, and the Objectivism is diametrically opposed to the kind of thinking that induces it.

I will accept that a practitioner of Objectivism can err and thus fall victim to bias, but the fact is that if he is actually following the philosophy, he will exhibit zero bias.

The problem is that you are using a rule of thumb here ("people have bias"), but have not understood the underlying cause. Thus, when you encounter an exception (and Objectivism is, sadly, an exception; most philosophies out there do induce bias), you are unable to grasp it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll just add that it continues to shock me just how determined you are to cling to your falsehoods. You seem to accept, uncritically, every liberal media idea out there, or at least the core premises behind them.

I guess I just don't see them as falsehoods or as products of the "liberal media" but rather as the facts of reality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is why you are not going to see an Objectivist lending much weight to a claim that aliens influenced the 2000 presidential election, or that snake healing cured a sick boy. Conversely it is why a Christian will not lend much weight to a claim that Buddhism is the one true religion, or why a Communist will not lend much weight to a claim that capitalism benefits the proletariat.

I think this statement is very fundamental example of how much you do not understand about Objectivism.

It's also evidence that you have continued to ignore my request to take your arguments/issues against Objectivism to the debate area.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this statement is very fundamental example of how much you do not understand about Objectivism.

It's also evidence that you have continued to ignore my request to take your arguments/issues against Objectivism to the debate area.

I am confused. First, just in general, about how my statement is ignorant of Objectivism. Could you please tell me how?

Specifically, I am confused as to how my post could even be considered an argument or issue against Objectivism. How is it so at all?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not saying that nobody can know anything, but rather that people generally have a bias in favor of what they individually hold to be true. This bias may inhibit impartial judgment of issues which might threaten this set of individual beliefs.

You know, Vladimir, with statements like that, you leave yourself open for someone to shoot at you: "speak for yourself brother!"

No, I am not going to do that - well, at least not in such a tone.

Rather, I am just going to say that in making such a statement, you are presumably including yourself - correct?

I am going to assume, here, that your answer is: yes.

So I have a question for you: Let's say sometime in the future you discover either on your own, or because someone has pointed it out to you, that your judgement has been inhibited by such a bias. Once you become aware that it has been thusly compromised what will you do? Will you reevaluate your judgement consciously recognizing that such a bias exists and make extra sure that you are not letting it improperly get in the way of the facts? Or will you evade the issue and cling to your belief?

THAT is my answer to the issue that "everyone is biased." Maybe they are. But it is their job to be on guard against it, get past it and look at reality and not at their emotions and wishes.

- - - -

Perhaps somebody more knowedgable about science can also answer something for me - doesn't science have certain procedures and/or methodologies in place which , if followed properly, works to pretty much help scientists recognize and get past any inappropriate biases that they might have?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am confused.

I know. And no, I'm not going to explain any further. Several people on this board, and I'm going to chiefly name DavidOdden and Dismuke (please don't be offended if I left anyone off), have spent considerable time trying to explain to you your errors in understanding of Objectivism and apparently to no level of great success despite what I consider patient and valiant effort. It is my considered belief that both of these folks are likely more articulate and more knowledgeable than I am in understanding and relaying the philosophy. It would simply be a waste of my time to try to cover what they have already explained well enough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am confused. First, just in general, about how my statement is ignorant of Objectivism.
I have reached the conclusion that it is not possible to explain this to you, because you do not have an earnest interest in understanding Objectivism, and because you do not grasp the idea of reading and writing literally. I looked through what you've said about bias and objectivity, and in the old days I would have been stunned at your statements. But I believe that my current understanding is correct: for some reason (can't? don't want to?), you don't focus, and that leads you down an essentially random path. All I can suggest is that you start with the fundamental axioms and work from there.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's also evidence that you have continued to ignore my request to take your arguments/issues against Objectivism to the debate area.

Actually, I was also going to tell you to take your views to the debate forum, but then the phone rang and I forgot. So RB is definitely not the only one to see this.

I am confused.

What's to be confused about? You've said that it is impossible to be completely objective and that all Objectivists are biased. Both of which are fundamentally opposed to the philosophy of Objectivism which says that humans are capable of being completely objective and that we should do so.

edit: I know you're going to swear up and down that you don't literally mean the above, and you're going to add a bunch of qualifiers, but trust me the essence will remain. So don't bother.

Edited by Inspector
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have reached the conclusion that it is not possible to explain this to you, because you do not have an earnest interest in understanding Objectivism, and because you do not grasp the idea of reading and writing literally. I looked through what you've said about bias and objectivity, and in the old days I would have been stunned at your statements. But I believe that my current understanding is correct: for some reason (can't? don't want to?), you don't focus, and that leads you down an essentially random path. All I can suggest is that you start with the fundamental axioms and work from there.

I have to agree with David here, with my primary evidence being the sheer number of times I have to repeat myself with Vladimir. It's like he isn't really reading what I write, or that he's just here to attack and isn't interested in giving the slightest bit of consideration to understanding anything that any of us have to say. So either for lack of comprehension or by intent, it's like talking to a brick wall. Which is so weird, because as I said before, he's not loopy. I can only assume that he’s approached the reading of Objectivism itself with the same (bad? faulty?) attitude, since he similarly fails to grasp it.

I guess as a final comment, I’d just like to marvel at just how much damage a modern philosophy education can do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...