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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:31 am
 


What if the climate change taking place was not man-made, but rather a completely natural occurrence? How would our response to it differ if humans weren’t “at fault”?

The answer, of course is - we would try to see if there were a technological fix or an easy behavioural change that would avoid the impact. Failing either of those, we would get on with figuring out how to adapt - resettle away from coasts, redistribute population away from impacted areas, put measures in place to mitigate the negative impacts, and continue living life in our industrialized society.

Why does that fact that the climate change can be linked to human activity change this approach? Why do we take a moralistic view, as if we somehow need to atone for our “crimes against nature” by living smaller, materially poorer lives, instead of a practical one? There’s no easy fix, or even realistic fix, short of massive depopulation or having people go back to being medieval-style subsistence farmers, only with smartphones and Internet. We can delay certain effects, I’m sure, but that’s like telling a terminally ill patient that he can squeeze in a few more years by giving up everything he enjoys. “Quality of life” is as much a concern for the masses as it is for the individual.

Is the goal extending the viability of the planet for as long as possible, at any cost? Is it worth giving up the benefits of labour-saving technological advancement and economic specialization in order to keep our carbon footprint to an absolute minimum? The vast majority of us, if forced to answer honestly, would say no. But then there’s this guilt, this moralizing impulse that insists we fix what we broke, even though our simple existence is what broke it.

We attempt to resolve this contradiction in one of two ways. One is engaging in symbolic but inconsequential gestures of self-deprivation in order to try to appease the angry earth god, or at least show that you’re more “woke” than your neighbours. The second is finding a scapegoat - those oil companies, that province with the oil, those evil polluting corporations, that country that doesn’t regulate its industry, that political party that denies climate change, those white colonial settlers. We absolve ourselves of the guilt, while forgetting that we generated the demand that in return triggered the creation of the supply.

Life, at all scales (individual organism, species, planet) is a battle against entropy, generating order in the face of an overwhelming tendency towards chaos and, ultimately, heat death. It’s like casino gambling. You can win for a while, but if you keep playing, you will inevitably lose.

The current legal consensus around abortion is that a pregnant woman has no obligation to the fetus inside her. Until it passes through the birth canal and is disconnected physically from her, it has the legal and moral status of a benign tumour. What then do we living humans owe to generations not yet conceived, especially those that won’t be conceived for decades and even centuries?

It all comes back to the moralizing. We did a bad thing. We industrialized, we freed vast populations from feudal drudgery, we ended primitive ignorance and we shaped the world in a way that only intelligent mammals carrying scientific knowledge from one generation to the next could. What we did was bad because it had bad consequence. We were bad because we did the bad things.

What would we undo, if we could? The industrial revolution? The agricultural revolution? The discovery of fossil fuels? Chemistry? These are the secular environmentalist’s answer to the eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge in the Judeo-Christian creation story. We drilled for oil and put up big box stores in Eden, so we deserve to be punished.

The authoritarian left, deep down, knows that people are not willing to give up the standard of living liberal capitalism has given us in exchange for the income equality and so-called “social justice” of socialism. People like having the freedom to chose things for themselves, and many are willing to risk death fighting for it. But if our lifestyle can be successfully portrayed as killing the planet and ourselves as a species, then submitting to will of an authoritarian state and living a life of material deprivation becomes no longer a matter of trade-offs and rational decision-making, but a moral imperative. If the choice is framed as, surrender your personal freedoms or the planet dies, then there is no choice at all.

But the planet already is going to die, and long before that become inhospitable to humans. The variable is basically how many generations of humans the planet will support before giving way.

Sustainability is an illusion, and one which authoritarian collectivists are using to convince us to cede control of our lives to the state. The way for conservatives to respond is not to deny the condition (man-made climate change), which in the face of the evidence makes us look like obstinate fools or crackpots, but challenge the prescription.

Take the moralizing out of it and treat climate change as just another problem we have to deal with. Will the “cures” being proposed by the so-called progressives preserve individual freedom and at least most of our current standard of living? Will they arrest or even significantly slow the progression of the disease? Or will they simply make us feel better and less guilty as an oppressive state apparatus assembles itself around us and our lives? The patient has the right to refuse treatment, and it should be the job of conservatives to convince others that the treatment is not worth what it will cost us (and yes, those who will follow us).

And perhaps with the empty moralizing exposed for what it is, science can be turned to come up with remedies that don’t involve massive social engineering or command economies.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:17 am
 


Humans are bad at long term planning. I think that's where the need to deny AWG comes from.

Throw in that climate is like most other science, in that it's subject to change if better data comes along, and people see it as 'inaccurate'.

Toss in the fact that there is a cost involved, and you have the perfect trifecta of 'not my problem', 'its not real' and 'I'm not going to pay for it'.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:31 am
 


Oh, I get it!
The choice of telling the labcoats to "Fuck off with your glowbullshit, lies and fake science! GET A REAL JOB!! and mind your own damn business!" does not exist.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:58 am
 


CharlesAnthony wrote:
The choice of telling the labcoats to "Fuck off with your glowbullshit, lies and fake science! GET A REAL JOB!! and mind your own damn business!" does not exist.


It does exist. You do that by presenting overwhelming data and studies contrary to the overwhelming data and studies that show it's real.




But you won't.




{sound of crickets chirping}


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:47 pm
 


Looking for excuses to not clean up our mess. :(


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:11 pm
 


raydan wrote:
Looking for excuses to not clean up our mess. :(


What mess? Nice weather, you mean?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:44 pm
 


I get the OP's point though.

Without the shame game, what have you got? A possible problem you might want to deal with through mitigation (fixes of supposed causes) or adaptation to whatever actually comes.

With the power of guilt though we've got 'Oh my God, we're all gonna die! 8O And it's all our fault! More power to bigger governments! Somebody over there doesn't agree. He hates science! Get him! No more saying stuff we don't approve of.'


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:35 pm
 


Given the speed of climate change, it’s highly unlikely not to have an anthropogenic component. The problem has to be tackled at every possible stage. I hope we can find technological solutions to reducing carbon dioxide levels directly because we are going to need them.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:06 am
 


Quote:
Throw in that climate is like most other science, in that it's subject to change if better data comes along, and people see it.

Good point. You see this especially in food-related science. This week’s miracle food becomes next week’s poison (or at least loses it’s shine). Caffeine has gone from villain to hero and back again enough times to make a professional wrestler blush. Part of it must be a combination of incentives in the funding system to overturn previous research and a panic-happy media latching onto anything they can do to scare up attention in a saturated information landscape. I’m waiting for the inevitable “Quinoa: Grain of Death” headline.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:22 am
 


Individualist wrote:
Quote:
Throw in that climate is like most other science, in that it's subject to change if better data comes along, and people see it.

Good point. You see this especially in food-related science. This week’s miracle food becomes next week’s poison (or at least loses it’s shine). Caffeine has gone from villain to hero and back again enough times to make a professional wrestler blush. Part of it must be a combination of incentives in the funding system to overturn previous research and a panic-happy media latching onto anything they can do to scare up attention in a saturated information landscape. I’m waiting for the inevitable “Quinoa: Grain of Death” headline.


Food studies though have a major drawback.

In any study, you have to give one population the thing you are trying to study, and another population something else, called a 'control'. In a 'double blind' study, even the people carrying out the tests don't know which population gets which. This way the study is freed from any possible biases the proctors might have.

But a food study, you can't just take a population and give them only coffee for 10 years to see if it gives them cancer, or alzhimers or something. That would be unethical. So food studies are done in retrospect. People try to remember what they've eaten for the past 6 months, and that is used to see if that relates to any disease in the population. Which is why food studies change. Red wine is good, red wine is bad, red wine is good in moderation . . . the results will never be accurate because of few participants and poor data.

But climate has it's drawbacks as well. The years 1850 - 1900 are generally used as the control, as this was when the thermometer was in wide use, and temperatures were being recorded widely and regularly. But thermometers and temperature scales hadn't been standardized, so the readings differ from each other. Modern readings as well have problems, such as a weather station that was once in the middle of nowhere now being in a dense city, or satellites that get replaced with different instruments as technology changes. You can't relate temperatures that differ because of instrumentation or location, and have an accurate picture of trends.

These lead to the problem where you can't compare apples and oranges when it comes to the Math of Statistics. So you have to convert apples into orange equivalents, because otherwise comparisons are meaningless. But the people who don't understand the branch of Math called 'Statistics' cry foul because the data is being 'manipulated'. Now they have yet another reason to ignore the reality, and put the burden on the next generation to bear the cost and effort of fixing our problem.

Individualist wrote:
Is the goal extending the viability of the planet for as long as possible, at any cost? Is it worth giving up the benefits of labour-saving technological advancement and economic specialization in order to keep our carbon footprint to an absolute minimum? The vast majority of us, if forced to answer honestly, would say no. But then there’s this guilt, this moralizing impulse that insists we fix what we broke, even though our simple existence is what broke it.


One thing has been clear in any environmental tragedy, whether it's all the mining sites in the US, or things like Kam Kotia or Mount Polley - its cheaper to fix the problem before it gets out of hand, than once the real problems start.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:01 pm
 


There has always been climate change and there always will be climate change. The polar ice caps have expanded and retreated multiple times. In early history flora and fauna would adapt or expand the range to be viable. Species appeared and became extinct.

The difference with man in the equation is we have created large urban areas and concentrated agricultural food production. We are not a migrating species anymore. If conditions deteriorate in location 'A' people cannot migrate to location 'B' due to political boundaries. So we will see refugee camps, starvation, regional genocide with diminishing food supply, etc.

Add in the the effect of a shift in the magnetic pole being 500,000 years over due and the turmoil that will occur when it happens. The concentration of population centres will magnify the size of the catastrophies.

While on a geological scale the events can be quick or 'short lived' the impact can be multigenerational in human terms. A thousand years is a blip geologically, but 30+ human generations.

In the end adaption will play a bigger role than programs to modify climate change.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:44 am
 


DrCaleb wrote:
Food studies though have a major drawback.

In any study, you have to give one population the thing you are trying to study, and another population something else, called a 'control'. In a 'double blind' study, even the people carrying out the tests don't know which population gets which. This way the study is freed from any possible biases the proctors might have.

But a food study, you can't just take a population and give them only coffee for 10 years to see if it gives them cancer, or alzhimers or something. That would be unethical. So food studies are done in retrospect. People try to remember what they've eaten for the past 6 months, and that is used to see if that relates to any disease in the population. Which is why food studies change. Red wine is good, red wine is bad, red wine is good in moderation . . . the results will never be accurate because of few participants and poor data.


I know I’m drifting off topic here, but this is where moralizing comes into it too. Progressives seem to moralize about food the way social conservatives moralize about sex. Obesity and it’s health consequences are starting to be treated as a personal moral/ethical failing in the way that many of the religious right treated someone contracting AIDS. Processed foods are the new unprotected sex.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:38 am
 


Individualist wrote:
I know I’m drifting off topic here, but this is where moralizing comes into it too. Progressives seem to moralize about food the way social conservatives moralize about sex. Obesity and it’s health consequences are starting to be treated as a personal moral/ethical failing in the way that many of the religious right treated someone contracting AIDS. Processed foods are the new unprotected sex.


Its your topic man, drift as far as you like.

Companies discovered after WWII, and the space race, that they could process food quite a bit. The more they processed it, the more money they made. Huge swaths of our agricultural land are set to producing the foods that are most manipulated by modern food processing; wheat, corn, soy, rice. With the exception of soy, which is mostly fed to animals, the others are high in 'glycemic index'. They affect blood sugars the most. Most people don't know that eating white bread and pasta affects your blood glucose almost as much as raw sugar does.

We are not evolved to eat so many carbs, and not have the highly mobile lifestyle anymore. We haven't adapted to be able to utilize so many high energy calories. So our bodies will store that excess glucose as fat. And when the fat is full, it will store the glucose as cholesterol in the blood. And then the problems begin.

People are realizing that processed foods give far more calories than we need. Even the average plate size at a restaurant has increased in the last decades.

Raw, whole natural foods are the best way to maintain our health. And they just taste good!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:49 am
 


Obesity's always been regarded as a moral/personal failing where the individual with the problem gets to be bullied mercilessly by the pretty people, and all with society's full approval. It's only been in the last several decades where the genetic/medical/brain dispositions towards being overweight have been taken seriously.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:45 pm
 


Thanos wrote:
Obesity's always been regarded as a moral/personal failing where the individual with the problem gets to be bullied mercilessly by the pretty people, and all with society's full approval. It's only been in the last several decades where the genetic/medical/brain dispositions towards being overweight have been taken seriously.


Well, the “pretty people” have been joined by the “woke”, the supposedly well-meaning progressives who are anti-bullying, as long as the people being bullied fall into one of their “marginalized” categories. I guess punching down is sometimes okay.


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