# The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See

1. Sep 11, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
2. Sep 14, 2008

### Integral

Staff Emeritus
3. Sep 14, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus

I agree and think everyone here should make a point of passing this one around.

4. Sep 15, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
5. Sep 15, 2008

### Art

Except the author doesn't agree though he says he has since updated his argument to plug a huge hole people found in it.

Edit - A very quick look at his updated video shows another rather large hole; again based on a false assumption - his choices are lacking. He is assuming from the get go that if humans aren't causing global warming then there will not be any which is obviously false and so such an option has to be included in any decision matrix. I.e spend the money and still have a disaster.

Personally I think the human race's biggest problem in 50 years time is what to do if there isn't a natural catastrophe thus allowing the population to rise to the UN's projected fig of 8.5 billion. (which seems optimistically low to me seeing as how we put on 0.5 billion in just the past 5 years??)

Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2008
6. Sep 15, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus

Sure, it isn't really bullet proof, but he still does a nice job of considering the major options. But your objection is not entirely valid either. Part of the action required is to anticipate the problems that climate change will bring, such as stronger and/or more frequent storms and coastal flooding. When your house is washing out to sea, I doubt if you care whether it was caused by humans or not. And either way we take action, if we choose column A.

Nor does he consider that green-collar jobs can help to save the US ecnonomy. For example, by replacing fossil fuels with domestically produced alternatives, we can keep 700 billion dollars a year in the US economy and reduce the trade deficit by 70%. But I didn't see "saves the US economy" anywhere in column A.

Personally, I would prefer that developing countries implement good birth control practices, rather than allowing global catastrophes to do the job.

Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
7. Sep 15, 2008

### Art

I'm not so sure your point is valid. Again his decision matrix and his talk is based on the avoidance of GW rather than the managing of it. Anyway I am sure if one looks in detail one could probably find dozens of similar holes in his 'conclusive' argument both in the credit and debit columns. My point is it most certainly isn't worthy of this treatment.

8. Sep 16, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus

Oh well, I think it is.

He makes it clear that no matter what we do, we have to weigh the risks and make a bet. The choice is clear no matter how you modify the chart: Either we risk it all through inaction, or we don't. The choice is simple.

Last edited: Sep 16, 2008
9. Sep 16, 2008

### tribdog

WHAT? How about we quit causing more environmental damage to the planet than the rest of the world combined. How does 100,000 babies starving to death in Africa have any effect on the planet?

10. Sep 16, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus

The implication was that since overpopulation is a key problem, it would be good to eliminate the "excess population" through global catastrophes.

Merry Christmas!

11. Sep 17, 2008

### TheStatutoryApe

Unless it is unavoidable and we are unable to prevent it in which case we have gambled everything on prevention when perhaps adaptation would have been a better option.

12. Sep 17, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
The selection is action or inaction. We haven't specified what sort of action. Also, the desire to reduce GHG emissions often coincides with other motivations, such as national security. It is in our economic interest, as well as our national security interest, to end our reliance on foreign oil suppliers. And as T Boone Pickens makes clear: This is one problem that we can't solve by drilling. We have dug our hole as deeply as we can.

Next, whether GCC is driven by human activity or not, adaptation is critical to a so called "soft landing" in any event. So this becomes a matter of warming or not, and action or not. And the odds of "not warming" = true are negligible at best.

Note also that he specifies that one can add many more variables, and he suggests that you do so, but the result is the same: Choose a column; select a lottery ticket; place a bet on not only your future, but the future of all humanity, by throwing the dice. How lucky do you feel?

Last edited: Sep 17, 2008
13. Sep 17, 2008

### Jimmy Snyder

I would choose column A, but for a different reason than he gives. However, his smiley in the bottom left box is incorrect. The bottom left box should be exactly the same as the top left box. The drawback to choosing column A is the 'Jonah effect'. Jonah predicted the fall of Nineveh unless they reformed. They reformed. The city didn't fall. The prophet was made to look an ass. If the world chooses column A, and saves the planet, science will take a hit. Oh well, it seems that can't be avoided. The good news is that the world is unlikely to choose column A until it is too late.

14. Sep 17, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

It's worse than that: Choosing action A does not eliminate the possibility of that outcome whether it is human-caused or not.

Nor does choosing action B combined with the bottom row necessarily result in that outcome. The greenest country on the planet by leaps and bounds - France - got that way long before talk of global warming. I want our coal power plants eliminated and I too want a vast expansion of nuclear power - for reasons that have predate and have nothing to do with global warming.

He also mentions that one can make a much more complicated matrix if they want and that people should.... has he?
Agreed. It is far too simplistic to be useful as anything other than a propaganda piece..... wait, nevermind - that makes it perfect. It is exactly what some people are looking for!

15. Sep 17, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Really? Could you post a picture of the other charts you made that give better treatment of the odds and other possibilities?
The chart is simple and the options are simple. Therefore the choice is simple.

16. Sep 17, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Heck, here's another scenario for you: selecting column "A" drives the world into depression (top-left box), which makes every fuel but coal and wood non-viable, thus causing the worst-case of the lower-right box, but with the added problem of society being already crippled and worse able to adapt.

Sales of wood stoves are already skyrocketing...

17. Dec 7, 2008

### heldervelez

officially there is no global warming
(NOAA ,October 8, 2008, National Weather Service
JetStream - Online School for Weather)

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/srh/jetstream/atmos/ll_gas.htm [Broken]

quote
It has been thought that an increase in carbon dioxide will lead to global warming. While carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been increasing over the past 100 years, there is no evidence that it is causing an increase in global temperatures.

In 1997, NASA reported global temperature measurements of the Earth's lower atmosphere obtained from satellites revealed no definitive warming trend over the past two decades. In fact, the trend appeared to be a decrease in actual temperature. In 2007, NASA data showed that one-half of the ten warmest years occurred in the 1930's with 1934 (tied with 2006) as the warmest years on record. (NASA data October 23, 2007 from http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.D.txt [Broken])

The 1930s through the 1950s were clearly warmer than the 1960s and 1970s. If carbon dioxide had been the cause then the warmest years would have understandably been in the most recent years. But that is not the case.

The largest differences in the satellite temperature data were not from any man-made activity, but from natural phenomena such as large volcanic eruptions from Mt. Pinatubo, and from El Niño.

The behavior of the atmosphere is extremely complex. Therefore, discovering the validity of global warming is complex as well. How much effect will the increase in carbon dioxide will have is unclear or even if we recognize the effects of any increase.
end-quote

Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
18. Dec 7, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html#q3

19. Dec 7, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus

The choice is simple - act or don't act. The best course of action is not a simple matter.

Of course, our financial sector has proven to be the real monster. For the price of the 8 trillion now dedicated to the bailout, we could likely be energy independent and using carbon neutral fuels.

Last edited: Dec 7, 2008
20. Dec 7, 2008

### edward

We reached that center square in the first video ( global economic crisis) without GCC even being envolved.

21. Dec 7, 2008

### Art

I'm all for reducing / eliminating pollution but as CO2 isn't a pollutant and none of the promised AGW huge feedback predictions have come true I think money is best spent on tackling real problems rather than on vague imagined threats.

I'll make a prediction that 10 years from now the new fear will be global cooling, as it was in the 70's, and just like then there will be no end of people queuing up to tell us how it is man's fault and if we don't all start hugging trees we'll all die.

Given the recent admission from GISS that their recent global warming data was nonsense (btw only after independent investigators checked it and proved it was nonsense) I would not give the slightest bit of credence to anything at all they publish, past, present or future.

22. Dec 7, 2008

### heldervelez

Global warming is hugely budgeted, from our pockets and the whole story is about \$.
Against satellite data evidence (*) do you prefer keep talking about global warming and continue paying?
To talk about ‘NO Global Warming’ I’ve started this thread (because all the others are about the Global Warming)
The web page I’ve pointed http://www.srh.noaa.gov/srh/jetstream/atmos/ll_gas.htm [Broken] is a TURN in the official trend.
It was revised on October 8, 2008, and its contents are a notorious patch over the previous contents.
A page for OFFICIAL education revised so recently is more pertinent than years of documents that anyone can advocate to the opposite cause.
They cannot simply erase all the millions of pages already written.
They have to start by changing some OFFICIAL page.
And we have to get used to this shift in the direction.
(*) this is the more accurate data ever observed.

Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
23. Dec 8, 2008

### vanesch

Staff Emeritus
While the thing presented in the video seems extremely simple (simplistic), after all, it is a 2-point decision with uncertainties, there is a point which hasn't been adressed at all, and that is the integrity of science.

Everybody knows that in decision theory, one needs to have estimates of the probabilities of the outcomes. We have 4 cases in this idealised scenario:

1) There is AGW and we think there is (and act accordingly)
2) There is AGW and we think there isn't (and act accordingly)
3) There is no AGW, but we think there is (...)
4) There is no AGW, and we think there isn't (...)

As explained, you have to weight the risks and benefits in each of these cases. However, risk and benefit go with probability. An event with 1 000 000 000 death, with a probability of 1E-8, is risk of 10 death.

As such, it is extremely important to give as best as one can, estimations of what are the probabilities of the events. Doing so requires adhering to strict scientific principles, especially concerning uncertainties.

The 2 - way decision tree is much too naive, because we have actually a whole scale of possibilities: there can be no AGW, a little bit of AGW, a lot of AGW... and then the consequences can be very varied. Also, the actions and the cost of what we can do is also continuous, and varied.

But let us follow the speaker, and assume that the worst case scenario is 2).
First of all, there can be an ethical and philosophical debate about how much of our present well-being we are willing to sacrifice for the well-being of future generations - we could all collectively decide that we prefer US having a good time while we still can, and to hell with future generations. Better still 20 years of fun than going down the deep trench right now for the sake of others.

But let us take the stance that we don't decide that. That we think that a catastrophe in 100 years is really a bad thing. So we should then take action now. How drastic should that action be ? Should we, say, decimate population willingly right now in order to avoid it ? We could. We still have enough nuclear weapons to decimate humanity. Is that a measure which makes sense ? Adhering to "avoid 2) at all costs" would dictate that we do that. I think it is clear that that point is silly. So *how far* are we willing to go to avoid 2) ? Really "at all cost" ? According to the argument in the video, we should launch those rockets immediately!

The final fallacy is that if we have to avoid 2) at all cost, *we should make the probability of it as small as possible*, even if it runs into the face of evidence. So we should by all means avoid "and we think there isn't". That can be done by banning all statements that give a non-near-100%-probability to AGW. "Change people's minds". I'm affraid that that is what is happening. As people are affraid of 2), they prefer artificially over-estimating the probability of AGW, so that decision making always avoids 2) (and 4), hence increasing the probability for 3) ). However, the price to pay for that is that we cheat with science. So one of the extra costs of 3) is that science will have lost its credibility. I don't know how much "science" costs, but personally, if I have to choose between the well-being of future generations, or the credibility of science, I go for the second option - there is something Faustian to this, I agree

In order to make correct decisions, it is important to make an honest ascessment of the situation, with all certainties and uncertainties included. It makes no sense to make a "private" assessment of the needed decisions, and then to cheat on the uncertainties to enforce that decision. It is why the decision making, the policy making on AGW should be totally disjunct of the science, and it isn't. Science has one agenda: finding out what happens, and stating what we know, and what we don't know. Policy making should USE the science to make decisions. When scientists play decision makers, we loose both.

The funny thing is that if you hold the kind of argument as in the video about nuclear power, then suddenly you have a lot of people disagreeing. Fill in the cases in the video with and without nuclear power, and think again.

The real point is that the video does touch upon something. However, instead of thinking about action in a monolithic way, we should make this case for every individual action - like picking between going for more nuclear power, or investing into solar energy, or drilling for more oil, or this or that. In other words, making rational decisions. And *each time* it is important to know as well as possible, what are the probabilities for each case.

Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
24. Dec 8, 2008

### Proton Soup

that guy is a ****ing idiot. he's making the very same argument that has always been made. and economic depression shows up in both rows of column A. to leave it out and put a smiley face there is disingenuous, but right in line with the rest of his argument, which is the same old appeal to emotion. i can't believe you guys post this stuff like it is some sort of mathematical proof. :uhh:

25. Dec 8, 2008

### Proton Soup

another thing, while i'm thinking about it, and don't want to leave it at simply a statement of my disgust.

what this guy did in that first video is make the old, "but what if you go to hell?" argument. so what if you don't believe in god, what could happen? well, on the one hand, if there's no god, nothing happens. smile because you made a good decision. on the other hand, if there is a god, and you don't believe, you go to hell. don't smile because you made a bad decision and will be in complete anguish for all eternity.

then we take the flip side, belief in almighty god. if there is a god, smile and be joyful because you're going to heaven. if there isn't a god, well, maybe you just wasted a bit of effort for no good reason, but this outcome still isn't as bad as going to hell, so don't feel too bad about making a mistake here.

so what's it going to be people? do you really want to risk going to Global Warming Hell?! maybe i'm a bit hasty at labeling him an idiot. every charlatan knows the approach is effective. the argument will resonate well with a lot of people.