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News Global Warming and the stupidity of (wo)man

  1. Mar 9, 2009 #1
    Global warming is happening, it could however we a natural cycle that the earth goes through and little effected by humans, we really don't know for sure. We sure should hedge our bets and try not pollute this planet but it seems that these global warming activists have an unstated major premise that using energy is inherently bad. Nuclear Energy is a good idea, solar is the best thing we can do, we should invest maybe all of our resources into these two sources of fuel, tell the fundamentalist Muslims to go drink their oil and use as much energy as we want.

    For me it just doesn't follow that as a society we should be trying to use less energy, I think we should have better means of harvest energy and be more efficient in extracting it, but why is using less our highest goal? You know who used less energy? The dinosaurs! Look where it got them. All joking aside, we are trying to go up the Kardeshev scale not down, as technology progresses we will doubtlessly consume more joules, but that isn't such a bad thing if we are smart about where they come from.

    We aren't stupid and we should be trying to fix the energy problem but being smarter not just giving up and buying "green" toilet paper for $7 a roll. I am firmly of the belief that so many of humanities problem could be fixed if we were just smarter.

    One further point about something related to global warming, if a species goes extinct, is it our duty to save it? Since when is our role on the planet making sure it stays exactly the same as the way we found it? Whether we do anything or not, if we weren't even here, the climate would change, species would go extinct, hurricanes would flood places, etc,etc. What is our agenda in this matter, of course we'd like to keep our planet habitable for us, but is it feasible to micromanage every last coming and going and shed a tear every time a cuddly species goes extinct? I don't really know the answer.

    Thankfully, we have a president in the United States who at least pays lip service to "returning science to it's rightful place." Yet, as proud as we are to see a black man as a president I'm still waiting for the day when our nation, nay, the world, see's that reason, logic and the scientific method are far more useful traits in a leader than charisma, religion, ethnicity, being a talented orator, etc, etc. Is our race as a whole just too stupid too get over this hump and out into the light?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2009 #2
    Globally averaged, yes. Reason, logic, and the scientific method are not skill sets that get anyone far in politics. As long as it's more efficient to manipulate large numbers of near-comatose people to get into the voting booth, this will always be the case. Appealing to a person's reason, deductive skill, and scientific knowledge assumes a baseline level of education/training/intelligence. This baseline is not compatible with the levels of willful ignorance in our society. Politicians will stick with what works, manipulating people conditioned to be easily impressionable that rarely think much past what is told to them. IMO, having a political mind is about a stone's throw away from being a nonviolent (usually) sociopath. This state of straddling the fence between normal social behavior and psychopathology is sometimes manifest into what would be referred to as charisma. Being slightly on the side of a sociopath provides the fundamental skills to being a successful politician, not appeals to logic, reason, or the scientific method. Unfortunate for the human race.
  4. Mar 10, 2009 #3


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    IMHO no, as long as we can be sure that it doesn't get extint because of our actions. Obviously for hundreds of millions of years new species evlved and old species died, that's all part of the natural history. That's not the case with - for example - dodo, moa, great auk.

    OTOH there is always a chance that extinct species evolved genes that one day can be useful for our purposes, medical or industrial, so preserving them may can be a good idea.
  5. Mar 10, 2009 #4
    I think this is the first global warming thread that is not about global warming. :tongue:

    Must be an excellent PhD project, reason, logic and the scientific method versus charisma, religion, ethnicity projected on the inevitable disaster of whatever form in the future.
  6. Mar 10, 2009 #5
    Andre, are we doomed?
  7. Mar 10, 2009 #6


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    You giving weight to this theory on purely philosophical grounds, i.e. nothing is certain thus all the evidence may be misleading. However the evidence for the man made impact on the climate is widely abundant accross different fields of science. It is a myth that there isn't widely held consensus in the sci community on the premise of man-made climate change.

    This indicates you're fundamentaly misinformed about climate change. The point you're discussing is moot, obselete. It's not a question of hedging our bets, it would be to go against considerable knowledge and evidence to do anything but tackle climate change head on.
  8. Mar 10, 2009 #7
    Could you please provide an example of that abundant unambigeous evidence for man made impact on climate and some substantiation of that widely held consensus?
  9. Mar 10, 2009 #8
    Apparently we are.

    I wonder about the moral panic factor. After all, how many times has doom been predicted?

    For instance in 1988 Hansen predicted a temperature rise of about one degree celsius by now.


    and http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadcrut3gl.txt [Broken]

    See the averages of the last few years:
    2006 - 0.422
    2007 - 0.405
    2008 - 0.324

    And 0.370 for January 2009.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  10. Mar 10, 2009 #9


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    [inital response (3pm): I don't have such references to hand (I'm just having a coffee break in the Lab), I'll gladly re-post some later this evening (I'll edit this post).]

    [edit (11:30pm): By the way, I never used the word unambiguous.

    An Example: "Detecting and Attributing External Influences on the Climate System: A Review of Recent Advances" Journal of Climate, Volume 18, Issue 9 (May 2005) http://ams.allenpress.com.libproxy.ucl.ac.uk/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175/JCLI3329.1.]

    Something I do have to hand: http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf [Broken]

    I noticed you posted a link to the guardian, are you familiar with George Monbiot's (a Guardian columist) book "Heat"?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  11. Mar 10, 2009 #10
    I think human stupidity is a far greater threat to our species and this planet in the long run than global warming.

    Neu, you haven't refuted my point, if global warming is a direct cause of civilization my reasoning still stands. I have to admit my topic is only superficially about global warming, everyone seems to be getting distracted from the point. It's not why is it happening its what should we do about? To me it looks like the activist have it all wrong!
  12. Mar 10, 2009 #11


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    This sentence seems to both prove and refute itself each time you read it.

    i.e. Worst case scenario: runnaway climate change of which "human stupidity" arguably the cause => above sentence both right and wrong.

    What is your point? More energy use = smart; less energy use = stupid?
  13. Mar 10, 2009 #12
    Or we have a future ice age exterminating most life, caused by trying to reduce global warming.

    I'm not claiming that's true, just that it's the other "worst case scenario". There's a worst case scenario on both sides, not just one.
  14. Mar 10, 2009 #13
    My point is our goal shouldn't be to use less energy because that isn't really a solution to the problem, the solution is to harvest that silly thing 93 million miles away that is spewing out a kw per sq ft!
  15. Mar 10, 2009 #14


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    Yes we do. A place to start is here: http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html [Broken]

    Having lots of evidence and convincing people is two separate things.

    Technology has given mankind the ability to completely collapse a ecosystem. If you would like to have a variety of food to eat, you should be concerned about saving things. I don't understand the logic that people try to use here.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  16. Mar 10, 2009 #15
    Then your not thinking very hard, some species would go extinct on this planet whether or not we were here, it is the nature of things. Why should we try to stop it in every case even if it isn't clear it's our cause. Natural selection seems to work out pretty good on it's own.
  17. Mar 10, 2009 #16
    I'm really annoyed that everyone seems to only react to my statement that global warming hasn't been conclusively shown to be caused by humanity. Thats not the point, whether it is or it is not.
  18. Mar 10, 2009 #17
    More like 30 watts per sq ft. That's total, not what we can actual use with current technology. Solar power research is great, but if we want to use it on a very large scale, we'd better have the collectors in space where they wouldn't significantly block sunlight from reaching earth's surface.

    The practical solution is nuclear power. Current technology is vastly cleaner and safer than the existing power plants that were designed in our (nuclear) infancy. Even the existing plants are far and away cleaner and safer than other sources. And we won't have to worry about running out of fuel for a VERY, VERY long time.
  19. Mar 10, 2009 #18


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    It's very clear that its our cause for the reason stated. The food-chain is like a pyramid, you pull enough blocks out and the entire thing will collapse. Most of these things are not dying out due to the process of natural selection. They are going extinct because mankind is depleting resources. Take sharks for example, the Chinese like to eat the fins off of them; as a result, one of the top predators in the oceans that have been around for millions of years is now threatened. So everything that is dependent on sharks, is now threatened to extinction. Let me give you an example of how this works by looking at something simple like caves.

    Life in caves are very dependent on bats. Bats leave the caves then go find food, and they return and dispose of it. Bugs will eat the waste and other creatures will eat the bugs. So if you kill the bats, then you kill the bugs, then you kill the creatures that eat the bugs, and so forth. The entire ecosystem of the cave collapses.
  20. Mar 10, 2009 #19


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    Nuclear power is not a solution. We would produce LAKES of radioactive waste if we powered the world in this fashion.
  21. Mar 10, 2009 #20


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    It has been conclusively shown to be caused by humanity. There is evidence from a zillion different locations and they all tell the same story. For some reason you want to believe that mankind just doesn't have the ability to change anything. The dust bowl of the 1900s can show that we can effect the climate, and it's just one of the countless examples.
  22. Mar 10, 2009 #21
    For the last time, I AM NOT ARGUING WHETHER OR NOT HUMANS CAUSED GLOBAL WARMING. Show me some real evidence and you can very well change my mind. I really don't care what the cause. What should we do about, and not do about it that is the interesting question. Nuclear power and solar energy are great resources for us, but WE JUST HAVE TO BE SMARTER, and come up with better ways to use them. Like I said in my intial post, I think if we were just smarter that we can solve these sorts of problems, buying green paper products and turning off your lights isn't the solution. We don't need to use less energy there isn't anything inherently wrong with the energy we are using, and with some advances in technology all of our species can live like us. That is what we should be focused on, not using less technology.

    I'm sorry if my point isn't clear to you, maybe I could do a better job explaining it, I'm not that great of a writer.
  23. Mar 10, 2009 #22

    People like you who are entirely ignorant of the facts of a situation but regurgitate the popular opinion do much to delay human advancement.
  24. Mar 10, 2009 #23
    Sorry, I heard that number in a lecture onces, the professor could have been mistaken. Anyways whatever the value is the point is there is more than enough energy out there for our civilization.
  25. Mar 10, 2009 #24
    Again, a MUCH smaller problem with current technology. Existing plants use the technology that existed shortly after we first split the atom.

    Even with current radioactive waste, the actual health problem pales in comparison with other power plants. The health standards for radioactive waste is much more stringent than other hazards, in comparison to the actual health risk. Public perception doesn't match reality. It's amazing that the same person who is scared of a truck with radioactive placards will think nothing of a fuel tanker, which is a much greater health risk, even aside from the immediate potential danger.

    Even the people who work directly with radioactive waste are exposed to radiations levels that are very small compared to what is routinely used in hospitals for simple tests. And that's the way it should be, since in hospitals, the small risk is outweighed by the benefits. And the levels the radioactive waste workers are exposed to are even small compared to what the average American is exposed to by natural sources, ie radon, etc. Bottom line is, there's a lot more hype than substance.
  26. Mar 10, 2009 #25


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    I gave a link to the IPCC assessment, read it yourself.

    Scientist and environmentalist are suggesting that we use less of "current" technology. This is not an anti-technology movement, but a need for a new technology to replace the one that is damaging the planet. Until that new technology is in place, we need to use the current one sparingly because it's causing irreversible damage to the planet.
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