Sunday, May 13, 2007

Acqueciemento global

Blaise Pascal.... smart guy, drove around in a van and solved mysteries:
Pascal's Wager ( a little refresher on Christian apologetics):
You believe in God.
-If God exists, you go to heaven: your gain is infinite.
-If God does not exist, your loss is nothing.
You do not believe in God.
-If God exists, you go to hell: your loss is infinite.
-If God does not exist, you gain nothing & lose nothing

There are plenty of holes if you use Pascal's wager as a reason to be Christian; Pascal intended his wager as an argument promoting exploration of Christianity. This quote of his sums it up:
I find it necessary to point out the sinfulness of those men who live in indifference to the search for truth in a matter which is so important to them, and which touches them so nearly.
Although, I believe global warming is real, I believe we are causing it, and I believe we need to do something to stop it; it is important for me to ask the question, "What if I'm wrong?"
Simply answered, enter Pascal's slightly modified wager.
We combat GW.
-If GW exists, everybody lives happily ever after.
-If GW does not exist, we create a more sustainable earth before is necessary.
We do not combat GW.
-If GW exists, earth becomes a bad kevin costner movie, your loss is infinite.
-If GW does not exist, you gain nothing & lose nothing immediately, you simply delay answers to the inevitable question of what happens when we run out of fossil fuels.

Sure, that's not the whole picture, combating GW now will likely hurt many businesses... but do you think those businesses won't be hurt even more when we get to the point that fossil fuels are actually running out? I'd say the economic losses will happen eventually whether GW exists or not. In nearly all manufacturing settings, it's better to attack the problem preventatively (notice, "manufacturing" is not spelled "Iraq"). My limited knowledge of economics suggests it is better to attack problems preventatively as well.

While all scientific evidence points towards GW and towards it's negative effects, I think it's important to remember that historically science is only bested in arrogant blunders by the catholic church (end pontification). I think it's pretty clear that science can tell us humans are the major cause of rising CO2 levels... I do question the ability to know exactly that will affect the globe; that's a big step that is reaching, if not extending, the bounds of modern science. The large range of predictions backs up my doubt. Either way, I don't think it matters. We should combat global warming as if it exists, because right or wrong the world will be a better place afterwards.

Not surprisingly... I want to dig in the archives a bit. I had forgotten until now... don't you all remember the early 90s when global warming wasn't really mainstream, but people frequently talked about how quickly we were going to suck the earth dry out of oil? What happened to that argument, if it was right... it should surely be used in a pro-change climatologist's arsenal.


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