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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Describe State Of Fear Discussion here.

... Uh, wasn't that the point of state of fear? That by throwing together a little bit of information, taking selectively a few data points, you seemingly have a iron-clad case? The title should have been the clue, not "Climate Change:The Myth" or anything like that, but "State of Fear", which refers to the idea that governments need some Big Bad Evil to control the people, and that when communism went out of vogue, climate change jumped up. From how i read it, including the "Author's Thoughts" bit at the end, i thought his conclusion was that anthropogenic global warming was less certain than we'd been led to believe, and that we need to come up with a system of scientific research that has less chance of biasing the results (peer-reviewed, an system of funding similar to patronage in the middle ages)

  • Mediocrates: I think you give Crichton far more credit than he deserves. The title is "State of Fear" because he tried to pass it off as a novel to get around the fact that his science is bogus yet still convince people of his message by bludgeoning them with author filibusters. He wanted to have his cake (get the book out there with supposed "factual" information) and eat it too (not have to go through any actual scientific publishing/peer-review to do it). And besides, what Crichton actually wanted to do with the book is of little consequence anymore, considering he's dead. What matters is what has been done with the book, namely that it has served as a rallying point for global warming deniers. Whether it was Crichton's intent or not, that's what happened. You've got people like Senator Inhofe trying to make it required reading for the senate committee he chaired back when the Republican Party still controlled Congress, you've got the Bush Administration bringing Crichton himself in to advise on an issue he has no training on just because he shares the same view as they do, and then you've got people like Kalaong who are utterly convinced it contains some sort of stunning revelation about the environmental movement. Also, you're comment on peer-review is incorrect. First off, Crichton's work, if anything, highlights the fact that outside of the peer-reviewed literature you get garbage like State of Fear that is full of quote-mined, misleading, and just plain wrong claims. Peer-review is nothing like patronage. In patronage a scientist has to constantly get approval from a monarch, prince, etc. who doesn't know anything about science in order to get funding to keep working. Peer-review is a fancy way of checking your work. It is done when you want to get published, not when you want to get funding (funding is a whole different can of worms). It is where other scientists (hence "peer" because it is done by the scientist's peers in their field) comb through looking for factual errors. Opinion statements are sometimes let through, but only if they make no factual claims that are then left unsupported. It's not some biased system for squelching honest disagreement, it's just a way of proof reading to catch factual errors or, in rare cases, actual academic dishonesty. That's why Crichton wrote a novel instead, because if he actually tried to get something like State of Fear peer-reviewed it would get shredded for being chock full of quote mining and out dated, out of context data.

Actually when i said "like patronage" i was referring to getting funding for the work; i.e that major governments (for instance) aren't going to fund research that if conclusive would leave them with major egg on their face. The peer review was pointed out that the potential for somewhat less than probing critical analysis exsists, somewhat basic human nature would suggest we'd expend more effort to disprove the work of someone we didn't like/agree with, than with someone we did like/agree with.

  • Mediocrates: Which really only serves to demonstrate the sheer lack of scientific support for global warming denialism. When the developed world and the BRIC nations both stand to gain from getting their respective scientist to put out work denying global warming and have control over the purse strings to try and push scientists in that direction and you have a system that has the potential to be a tad to lenient one would think that the deniers would have actually gotten some stuff peer-reviewed. The only thing is they haven't. Even with the monetary and academic decks stacked in their favor those who espouse denial of anthropogenic global warming still haven't be able to get peer-reviewed work done. The reason for this is simple, they just don't have any factual ground to stand on in the first place, and the only thing that is left to them is something like State of Fear, a work of fiction written to dodge any need for research, funding, or the peer-review process altogether and sway the masses who know next to nothing of climatology with one giant Author Filibuster.

... It is very comforting to imagine that we are small, and make no difference. This belief absolves us of burdens that we would prefer not to carry... Humanity has long shaped this world, erasing vast forests, connecting seas, irrigating deserts, wiping out entire species, deeply reshaping others. Since the discovery of nuclear energy we've gained the ability to destroy the vast majority of life on the planet, and severely alter its climate, all in one brief burst. To argue that we are powerless to change the world is irresponsibility and cowardice masquerading as noble humbleness.

...

Kalaong:It is also comforting to surrender ourselves to the will of a demagogue; it absolves us of those same burdens while still admitting their presence. If something goes wrong, it is the fault of our incompetent or malignant leaders. It is even more comforting to surrender ourselves to the will of the majority; it absolves each and every one of us from those burdens. If something goes wrong, it is simply because we are inherently wicked, or the world itself is inherently flawed. Is it irresponsible to think our species to be uniquely powerful inhabitants of a world that was neither made for our convenience nor us for it?

Throughout human history we have warred with our environment; entire nations have vanished from the earth from crop failures, let alone volcanic eruptions or earthquakes. Less than a century ago at least twenty million of us died of a single strain of influenza; half a millennium earlier a hundred million died from a simple bacterial infection. One out of every three women died after the birth of their first child, simply because we were ignorant of basic hygiene.

We beat those back not through passionate intensity but through the application of reason, and changed the world into something uniquely ours; yet still not perfect by any description thus; Cleveland's Cuyahoga river actually caught fire from the poisons we permitted to fill it. Many who curse the smell of burning hydrocarbons are too young to remember that once every city in the US could be seen from its horizon simply by its wreath of smog. London was once so choked with coal soot one was often unable to see across a street. Entire states were covered in dry dust because we failed to see to the needs of its land as well as our own.

We beat those back too, not through passionate intensity but through the application of reason; electric central heating replaced coal and oil-burning furnaces. Fuels were made to burn more efficiently and thus cleaner. We till weeds and animal waste into dry soil to nourish it so it can thus nourish us. We have made the world better; not out of unconditional love for it, but out of a desire to live in it as happily as possible.

And our attempts to make the world better out of unconditional love for it, instead of a desire to live in it as happily as possible, have been catastrophic. Banning cheap refrigerants has killed millions in third-world countries with starvation and food poisoning. Banning cheap pesticides has allowed fifty million to die of malaria.

Even if one considers the world which once slaughtered us without care or even will to be more important than our siblings who populate it, our actions have harmed it just as greatly. Preserving old-growth forests to protect the spotted owl has deprived many other species of the new-growth forests they need to thrive. The propaganda campaign to blindly prevent forest fires ultimately led to fires so hot they burned the ground as sterile as concrete.

The point is that humans - all humans - are just too special to irresponsibly entrust our will to others on such a scale. To blindly follow a leader is to be that leader's army. To blindly follow the crowd transforms our brilliance to mindlessness. The actions of a directorate or a consensus simply lack both the skill and imagination to shape the world into something worthwhile.

And the world is just as mighty. The forces which once decimated each generation of humanity still run wild, waiting for us to make a mistake. The only difference between the world we live in today and that in which our ancestors lived is that our capabilities to defend ourselves against it are overpowered instead of insufficient; the tools with which we defend ourselves from our environment are powerful enough that we often harm ourselves with them in the process.

To discard these tools is to return to those days of endless struggle and constant death. To wield them irrationally is to suffer those horrors at our own hands. The past holds no answers as to how those tools must be used. The future cannot be predicted; to declare that all-encompassing destruction awaits us if we do not pursue limited self-destruction now is criminal, dictatorial, mindless savagery.

There are answers. But they will not be found in poetic descriptions of a paradise which never existed. They will not be found in the smoke-filled rooms of authority. They will not be found in screaming crowds. They will be found in laboratories, by individuals. We must not blindly believe what they have to say, but we must always listen. Because the only way we will find those answers is with science.

But we have not found them yet. And if we do not, if we act without reason, our doom will indeed come; not in poisoned air and rising waters, but in the savage past we refuse to acknowledge. We will not murder the world and ourselves with it; the world will murder us in our complacency like a burglar happening upon an unarmed household with an unlocked door.

And the world will go on without us, uncaring and unknowing, with less of a scar to mark our presence than a release of the contents of its molten core or a plummeting asteroid slamming into its crust. The only ones who care about us are us. And the only way that care can save us is with science.

  • Mediocrates: You make a wonderfully quaint argument but have yet to address the fact that the evidence is in and it says that yes, global warming exists and that yes, it is man made. I agree that we should approach this with reason rather than passion, and that is why we should accept the findings of the scientific community and move forward rather than hiding our collective heads in the sand. That's right, forward. We aren't talking about discarding tools and descending back into savagery, that is a strawman of your design, but rather replacing them with newer and better ones. We aren't talking about going to "live in villages" as you have adamantly claimed we are, but rather improving out civilization so that it remains sustainable. But most of all we are talking about taking action to combat the threat of global warming rather than sitting back and doing nothing while the tragedy of the commons plays out around us. Accelerating desertification, increased drought and famine, more extreme storms, and so on. Even the Pentagon of all people have called global warming one of the greatest national security threats of our time because of its tendency to ruin already failing states to the point where they can no longer feed let alone govern their own people, turning them into hotbeds of violence and prime recruiting grounds for international terrorist organizations seeking young, angry people with nothing to lose. And then when they blame the developed world for their troubles, in a sad, sick way they aren't off the money. Then there's our fossil fuel dependence and all the costs that come with it, such as being a slave to one of the planet's most oppressive kingdoms purely because we need their oil. Yes, we need to apply our reason. We need to realize that the world would be a better place if we move on from fossil fuels. DD and DT fusion, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and wind power, better battery technology and hydrogen fuel cells, these are the things we need, not some book written by a sci-fi writer on a subject he has no training on that does nothing but promote the denial of a brutal truth: That ultimately this is our problem and we're the ones who need to fix it.
    • The real question is how to fix it. What's currently being done is not fixing it at all. It's just making certain rich people richer, and making energy cost more for everyone else. A lot of people disagree with anthropogenic climate change not because they don't believe it, but because the measures taken to "fix" it are patently insane. They don't work. The goggles, they do nothing!
      • Mediocrates: Yes, how to fix it is a tough problem, but we would be able to better address that if those who do outright deny the existence of man made global warming would stop hindering the rest of humanity. As they say, the first step is admitting that we have a problem. Second, the sad reality of the situation that makes really any potential fix so painful is that the free market is not reacting fast enough, leaving the job of fixing the problem up to the government and whenever government tries to solve a problem the solution is always painful to at least some degree. Unfortunately unless the free market gets its act together, which isn't looking particularly likely, clunky government intervention is the only option as of yet. We're simply in a textbook case of the tragedy of the commons, with the Earth itself being the common resource, where each individual actor sees the benefits as focused and the costs as diffused and thus by pursuing their own self-interest will inevitably destroy the common resource unless there is an overarching authority to regulate the market. And if we continue to sit on our hands we are going to end up creating a lot more failed states through increasing desertification and ocean acidity resulting in more frequent and more intense famines. These are prime recruiting grounds and safe havens for non-state actors such as terrorist organizations who are gunning for the developed world. The rise in power and numbers of non-state actors resulting from this increase in the number of failed states could very well mean the death of the state based world and the end of the era where the prevailing norm was that war had rules, such as civilian targets being considered for the most part off limits. This is just me, but I think that's a far worse result than an increase in energy costs as we ween ourselves off carbon. So in the end I think what we need to do is bite the bullet, accept the fact that global warming is a problem and that it's our fault, dump a ton of government funding into alternative energy while simultaneously instituting heavy carbon taxes to make carbon based power less competitive, and just take the temporary spike in costs while the energy industry makes the switch as a necessary sacrifice to preserve the state based world in which civilians are considered to not be legitimate military targets. There is no free lunch, we aren't going to get out of this one without paying a heavy price and the sooner we admit that the less we will have to pay to fix it. And as for making certain rich people richer, how is that different from the current fossil fuel based economy, where Exxon Mobil holds all ten slots of the "top ten corporate quarterly earnings in history" list?
      • Synaesthetic: The government has its own agenda and that agenda will do nothing good for us. I trust the oil companies more than I trust the politicians; at least the oil companies are honest enough to admit they do what they do to make money. It is absolutely certain that our existence has altered the planet to a great and irretrievable degree. That is certain. The details are less important than the fact that both sides of this debate are insane. The enviro-crazies will destroy the planet as surely as their opponents, only using a different mechanism. If they have their way, energy will become so incredibly expensive. And since energy is the basis of all economies on the planet, you may want to rethink your position. If the greens had their way, the wars and violence that would result from inefficient and tremendously expensive energy would make you wish for global warming. We can mess up our planet a little and maybe cause ourselves some problems a few millennia from now or we can go hog-wild with carbon credits and emission restrictions and fuel bans until economies start collapsing and before you know it the sky is filled with ICBMs. I think I'll take my chances with global warming; at least then I know I'll die of old age instead of being incinerated by a thermonuclear weapon or punched full of 7.62mm holes.
      • Mediocrates: Your argument demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the tragedy of the commons, the effects of global warming, and the difference between actual and artificial scarcity. I will attempt to correct them. First, it doesn't matter if a corporation is upfront with its motives or not, the point is that it has self interest and individual profit as its sole motives. As a result the common resource (in this case the Earth's biosphere) gets trampled on and the common interest (preserving the common resource) gets ignored because from the perspective of an individual actor the profits are concentrated while the costs are diffused. That is the tragedy of the commons, and unless an overarching authority intervenes the common resource will be destroyed. Regardless of what your opinion of the government is, they are necessary at this point. Second, your statement that we have "irretrievably" damaged the biosphere is flawed, it is a statement designed to dismiss offhand any attempts to fix it by proclaiming it to be unstoppable without any proof. Also, your characterization of global warming as "messing up our planet a little and maybe cause ourselves some problems a few millennia from now" is just plain wrong. The consequences of global warming will be felt over the coming decades as food and water in the developing world becomes scarcer and as weather patterns continue to intensify. Finally, your argument that carbon taxes and other government regulations will lead to nuclear war over energy is laughable. There is a big difference between actual scarcity (when the supply of something runs out) and imposed scarcity (where artificial restrictions are the cause). Only the former leads to war, as no nation would fight a war over a resource that it only lacks because it is itself restricting its access to it. If anything, war over energy will only occur if the actual supply runs out, not if the price simply increases as a result of artificial restrictions designed to make carbon power less competitive. In fact, the war you are envisioning would only occur if we persist in using increasingly rare sources of energy such as fossil fuels. Also, if you want an example to look at, take a look at France. They have the world's third largest nuclear arsenal, but when they made the switch away from carbon based energy as the foundation of their power infrastructure they didn't degenerate as you predict. They're even a net energy exporter now.

  • Randomy Passerby - Wow. Trainwreck.
    • Mediocrates: How so? Until you showed up and started deleting the entire page on a whim, this page was actually doing a bit better as of late.

Cidolfas: There's a few mentions of confusion about why a tsunami when they're trying to call attention to global warming. Am I the only one who paid attention to the fact that the "bad guys" were trying to head away from "global warming" as a call to arms and towards "climate change"? I.e. if they can convince everyone that the climate is really changing really badly and suddenly, they'll get more funding or whatever.
  • Mediocrates: The problem is that a) the two terms are pretty much the same thing when applied to the present day, "climate change" is just a broader term that can also be applied to past variations and b) tsunamis wouldn't help someone push action on either, regardless of what you are calling it. Tsunamis have nothing to do with climate change, they are geologic events that are not effected by the climate, and even if you're trying to get a reaction out of the public to get more funding you still run into that problem because no one associates the two. Tsunamis have never led to an increase in the amount of discussion on global warming (or climate change, whichever you want to call it, right now they are essentially the same thing). You're the only one who "paid attention" to that "fact" because you're the only one who incorrectly sees the two as fundamentally different things when in the snapshot of the here and now they really aren't.

  • Amazing Larry: Mediocrates you're a bore and I suspect some sort of commie as well, frankly as far as I'm concerned anyone who argues against the individual and for the "commons" should be dismissed out of hand simply for being an utter maniac. Funny how who "The Commons" actually are seems to always be defined by the mush mouthed twits who like to prattle on about them. As for "global warming" I think Crichton said it best when he called it a religion. Supposedly man creates carbon/original sin and so he had to atone/buy offsets and if he refuses to buy into the whole thing he's labeled a heretic/"Denier" or he'll go to hell/"failed state". What a load of crap it all is. Yeah I know blah blah blah it's "a proven fact" etc etc but it really isn't. What is obvious though is that the environment and climate are by their very nature erratic and unstable and they've been fluctuating all over the place ever since there was an Earth and that there's been a general warming trend since the end of the last ice age. This planet has gotten a hell of alot hotter and than it is now and it did it back when we were damned rats or whatever and hadn't even discovered the joys of the monkey lifestyle let alone burning petrochemicals. Frankly I know talking to you is a waste of time, I've run into your kind over and over again and it's like talking to a brick wall hence why I decided to come into this without so much as a pretense of politeness but rather I'm saying these things for the benefit of any poor dumb bastard who might come in here and mistake you as some sort of authority. I'm also asking that we rework the page for State of Fear into a much more neutral state as opposed to how it is now as some sort of smarmy manifesto about how "wrong" Crichton was at everything and how he supposedly failed at life.
    • Mediocrates: Did you honestly just suggest the tragedy of the commons is communist prattle? That's rich considering the foundation of the dilemma was first conceived of in the 5th century BCE by the Greek historian Thucydides and was expanded on by Aristotle in the 4th century BCE, long before Karl Marx was even born. And it was primarily an argument against the very existence of a common resource in the first place because of this inherent problem. It was then revisited in the 18th century, again as an argument against communal land use. Did you get that? It was an early argument FOR PRIVATE PROPERTY. How the hell is that communist? And the people who defined what a common resource was? The people you dismiss as "mush mouthed twits"? They were the very people who favored doing away with it altogether, something I would wager that you would support. It was a concept invented to describe exactly what they wanted to get rid of. Try actually studying what you are talking about before you start tossing around labels, maybe then you'll be able to avoid accidentally calling those who support the existence of private property "mush mouthed twits" out of your own sheer ignorance. The only reason it applies in the exact reverse in this case is because we don't have a meaningful way of dividing up the Earth's atmosphere into private sections and thus we are forced to make do with it being a common good. As for the planet getting a hell of a lot hotter in the past, yeah, you're right, it did. Though do you know what accompanied the original increases to those levels? Mass extinctions. Just because the globe has been hotter in the past doesn't mean the current warming trend isn't bad news for us. And AGW is about as close to proven fact as the physical sciences get. The tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling are a telltale sign that the current warming is the result of changes in the content of carbon based gases in our atmosphere, something that humanity is by far the largest factor in. Finally, Critical Research Failure, Did Not Do The Research, and other such tropes exist for a reason. When someone like Crichton is wrong that should be pointed out, not swept under the rug for the sake of being "neutral," a word which you seem to think means "more in line with my beliefs" rather than "without bias." Facts are inherently unbiased. If there are any factual errors in the page, please, feel free to point them out. If not, you are free to make your own additions, just bear in mind that they will be scrutinized and, if found to be in error, possibly removed. And as for the whole "I've run into your kind over and over again and it's like talking to a brick wall," have you ever stopped to consider that maybe that's not because the person you're talking to is being unreasonable but rather because you're a moron who does things like call the tragedy of the commons communist because it has "common" in the name without bothering to actually figure out what it really means? Maybe the reason you can't convince people is because your arguments are crap.
      • Amazing Larry: I could go out and I could find all sorts of links saying it's junk, in the end it really comes down to is a bunch of he said she said. I've gone before and looked at the graphs that supposedly present the positive evidence and I came away thinking the proponents of this thing must be looking at different graphs than I was. After reading State of Fear I did what Crichton suggested and I briefly looked at NASA's climate data I didn't see anything in it suggesting anything but the continuation of a gradual warming trend stretching back toward the end of the last ice age maintaining more or less the same rate the entire time with the past two hundred years showing no great change. I looked at the rate of sea level rise over the time since anyone's recorded it and came to the conclusion that if you go down to the beach and stand a few feet back from the high tide you might get your toes wet in about ten thousand years. Ultimately we do just all gotta think for ourselves and that's what I did. Even if the problem actually existed though what's the solution? We can't just unbuild civilization that'd be a species suicide, and if we cripple ourselves here by cutting back on energy production China will still do their own thing, pollute like hell and overtake us economically. There's just human nature as well to consider too, wars are fought over land and resources. Energy is one of the most sought after resources there is, people aren't going to tolerate it if you cut back on it's production even if it'll supposedly save a few polar bears. I mean honestly which would you rather have? Polar bears or a heated house? Hell they'll fight over it. It is still all just junk though, proponents of this crap use a hell of alot of words and jargon to say all sorts of things about it but if you just use common sense it falls apart. Cow farts for example, supposedly cow farts are destroying the planet and it's our fault. Yet what were those plains covered in before ranchers put the cows there? Buffalo, which are another kind of cow and no doubt farted all the time. Supposedly states will fail if the world gets warmer, but historically warmer times have been more profitable. In the end it is pretty much exactly what Crichton said it was, a political construct. Say all you want that the majority of scientists say one thing or another but that's not worth anything, consensus has no value. Facts do not come from popular vote and if majority opinion has any one tendency it's the tendency to be flat out wrong while simultaneously stupid as all hell. There is no such thing as a collective brain, committees don't produce ideas. The theory of relativity did not come from a fucking board meeting. You accuse the detractors of being liars because they work for oil companies, well them I accuse the proponents of being liars because they work for politicians who want a fire alarm to pull and for the environmental organizations. It's the gun the environmental movement always wanted so badly to be able to put to people's heads and coerce them. As Crichton said environmental organizations, lawyers and news media stand to make a killing off this thing and yet supposedly they're more trustworthy than the oil companies? When I hear these assholes talk all I hear is shrill tremulous cries of "THE SKY IS FALLING!" and frankly it just makes me wish Mean Old Mr Fox would turn up and make the noise stop. Also you talk like a smegging lawyer, lawyers being something I think we'd all be better off without than manmade carbon is.
      • Mediocrates: Where to begin? Your argument is so laughable that part of me wonders if you are actually serious. First, it's not just that the Earth is warming, it's that only certain parts are. If this were merely the natural continuation of the warming begun by the orbital/axial shifts that brought us out of the last ice age then the stratosphere would be warming as well. The problem is that it's not, it's cooling, meaning the current warming trend is a lower atmosphere/surface phenomenon, the arena of such things as carbon gases. So it isn't just a continuation of past warming, but rather the result of alteration to our atmosphere's content. Second, sea level rise is only part of the problem, increasing intensity of famine and drought, increasing ocean acidity, more often and more violent storms, and other such issues also lead to widespread suffering and death, all of which can be blamed on global warming. And even then, the predicted sea level rise is vertical. Meaning the 0.8 meter rise predicted for the next century translates into a lot more than a few meters of coastline swallowed up due to the slopping nature of the coast. To put it in perspective, a 20 cm sea level rise would displace over 700 thousand people in Nigeria alone. And then you trot out the old "you just want to tear down civilization" argument. No one is talking about that, it's a strawman of your design. What we are talking about is leaving behind an old, obsolete technology in favor of newer power sources that won't cause global warming. And if that wasn't enough, you hit the old "you just want to save the polar bears" canard. Fuck the polar bears. This is about preventing human suffering and death that will result from the increase in the frequency and intensity of famine, drought, and storms caused by global warming. So it's not "would you rather save the polar bears or have a heated house," but rather "would you rather pay a bit more to heat your house for a short time while the industry switches over to non-carbon based power or let people in the developing world starve to death." And then you pull out the methane bit. Yes, methane is a green house gas. Yes, it does occur naturally. But if you think the sheer output of our practically industrial modern agriculture is even remotely the same as that of nature, you're dead wrong. It's not binary, it's not that cows exist and fart or they don't, it's the sheer numbers that are the problem. There are a lot more cows now than there are buffalo before the advent of modern agriculture. Then you make the old "consensus means nothing" argument. While it is true that a lot of people saying one thing doesn't necessarily make it so, it does lend weight to a position when the people who know what they are talking about all lean one way. Though the fact that 97% of climatologists accept AGW as fact is not conclusive evidence in and of itself, it does lend credibility to the position. After all, it is a complex issue and inevitably one has to defer to the expertise of those who have spent their lives learning about the world's climate if you want to have any hope of making a factually based decision. What ends up sealing the deal is the weight of the evidence, which overwhelmingly supports the existence of AGW. You seem to liken the refusal to accept AGW to the theory of relativity. There is a problem with that comparison, the theory of relativity became widely accepted because of the evidence backing it up, and those who deny AGW haven't presented any of their own. Where are the peer-reviewed scientific publications that argue that global warming doesn't exist? They're MIA. Oh, and if actually bothering to use facts in my argument instead of copping out and saying "oh I could, but I won't bother" like you do makes me a lawyer, then I will bear that label with pride.
  • Amazing Larry If there were more efficient ways to produce power in existance they'd already be in use, the power companies make money by selling power so if they could make more of it more cheaply they would. Excepting of course nuclear power, which would be in many ways THE ideal source if it wasn't for all the bitching and moaning caused once again by the media and it's fear mongering. Once again I say, if we willfully choose to use less efficient forms of power it will damage out economy and China will chug along merrily polluting like hell so it's not like our self destruction would even make a difference even if a difference needed to be made. Secondly why is it the story is always fucking changing? Every few years they change the story, first it was getting cooler, then it was getting hotter, now you tell me they're saying it's getting cooler in some places and hotter in others. Give me a fucking break already, ever consider the whole thing really might just be a system so complex as to be near incomprehensible and totally unpredictable? As for Nigerians I would suggest you refrain from trying to appeal to my compassion, mercy or humanitarian spirit because I have none. Even if I believed in this whole disastrous man made climate change tripe it still wouldn't change anything, if I had to choose between my nation's economy, the affordability of my energy bill and the Nigerians well then fuck the Nigerians. In all rationality why should that even concern me? Nigeria is a backwater, a bumfuckistan, a nowhere. It has no economic or military power, my nation has no economic or military interests in it worth noting. Nigeria could fall off the face of the Earth tomorrow and I wouldn't care. Back to the real subject though I'll admit I'm not a climatologist, but you aint either. All either of us really have to go on at the end of the day is a bunch of he said she said and an infinite pile of data to look at and be slightly confused by, but I'm inclined to listen to Crichton more than any of the other assholes for several reasons. The first being that when he wrote a book on a subject I actually do know alot about he demonstrated he knew what he was talking about, I'm an aircraft mechanic and when I read Airframe it was clear he'd done his homework and he knew what he was talking about. He showed real understanding of how the field operates and the sorts of problems that one comes up against in it. The man was no charlatan, in fact everything I've ever read of his spoke to me of a great perceptiveness and a real genius. Real genius can't be taught, you either have it or you don't and Crichton's work always demonstrated it in my eyes. The second being he was one of the few men who really had nothing to gain by telling lies, Crichton was already a best selling author when he wrote State of Fear and he could have written anything about Global Warming and it would have sold a million copies. Yet he chose to write what he did, of his own volition, before any politicians or groups of any kind approached him on the matter. Thirdly I find it infinitely more believable that people are just panicky idiots chasing fads and trying to manipulate each other through fear than I do that two hundred years of industrialized human civilization is going to destroy all life on earth in the next twenty years or whatever horseshit they're spewing now. That's another thing that always changes, the time frame and the exact nature of the supposed apocalypse. Mark my words in twenty years when this whole thing has blown over and nothing has come of it and everyone is chasing the new scare you're going to look like an ass.
    • Mediocrates: You should try studying economics, maybe then you might be able to avoid looking like a moron. First you call an early argument for private property communist, now you show a mind boggling ignorance of external costs. The only reason that carbon power appears to be efficient is because the main costs (the pollution produced by it and the warming that it results in) are negative externalities, costs not taken into account in the original transaction and cost/benefit analysis due to their indirect and diffused nature. In order to create true efficiency rather than the illusion of efficiency, the externality needs to be internalized by forcing those involved in the transaction to deal with the actual costs, both internal and external. This is what a carbon tax is, a way of representing the external costs in the transaction and thus allow those involved to see the full picture. This is basic economics. And then you make the China argument again. Yes, China is a problem, but take a moment to look at the situation from a different angle. The US can't pressure China on the issue unless it already is taking steps to limit carbon emissions, otherwise it would just look hypocritical and not be taken seriously by the world at large. We need to make the first move, only then will we have the authority needed to deal with China. Think about it, much of China's economy is built on manufacturing goods for the express purpose of exporting them. Its prosperity is intrinsically tied to the rest of the world, which means that if we can get our act together and, together with Europe, throw our collective weight as consumers around in a unified manner, then China pretty much has to concede to regulation on carbon emissions. And then you use the standard "scientists said there was global cooling" argument. Honestly, you sound like a young earth creationist. "Oh, scientists use to say the earth was millions of years old, but now they say it's billions, so we shouldn't listen to them." Even if it were true (which I'll get to in a moment) it would still be meaningless. Science is a self correcting mechanism. As new information becomes available we get a better and better picture of the reality of the situation. Science Marches On, and the march of science has been toward anthropogenic global warming being that reality. And really, there weren't even that many to begin with, the main source of the "scientists said the earth was cooling" argument were articles written in Time and Newsweek, which are certainly not scientific publications. If you look at the actual peer-reviewed scientific works of the era the vast majority (42) support global warming rather than cooling (7). And then you completely misunderstand the use of the Nigeria statistic. Have you honestly never heard of a little thing called an example? I specifically said that stat was simply to put sea level rise and its consequences in perspective, not to give a complete overview of the issue. You see, unlike you I like to be able to cite actual factual information to back up my arguments. Nigeria far from the only place where people will be displaced, it's just the place I happen to have more exact numbers for in terms of people per cm of sea level rise than simply "lots" at the moment. And "going to destroy all life on earth in the next twenty years"? That's yet another strawman, you seem to love using that fallacy. No one is saying that, what we are saying is that a lot of people will suffer and die if we don't do something about it. And besides, truth can be strange than fiction, what is important is the evidence backing up each side, and as I pointed out earlier, the scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the existence of anthropogenic global warming. And then you use inductive reasoning. He got it right before, thus he must have it right now. I'm sorry, but Logical Fallacies. The fact that he got his facts right in the past doesn't guarantee he is right in State of Fear, and it certainly doesn't outweigh the fact that the evidence in this case is against him. Or, if you insist on pursuing that line of reasoning, consider this: In State of Fear he got the mechanics of hurricane formation exactly backwards. He said they form from high pressure systems. In reality they form from low pressure systems. Why trust him on climatology if he can make that big a mistake on the subject? Even if you go down the inductive road, you still have no reason to trust Crichton over the evidence. And gain nothing by telling lies? The man was invited to the white house to advise Bush on climatology over that book, he testified before congress because of it, and to top it all off he earned a pretty penny off of it too. There are people like you who clamor for this sort of garbage, looking for some sort of excuse to continue hiding their heads in the sad, and he stood to profit from providing that. What did he have to gain? The veneration you are showing for him right now, that's what. Even after his death you're still kissing up to him, and really what more could a professional fiction writer want than that?
  • Amazing Larry Wandered back in this morning cause I'm bored, but I see you've been busy Mediocrates. How much pleasure or whatever it is that drives you do you really get out of continually slandering a dead man's book? You know what man I surrender the tvtropes page regarding State of Fear to you, you can have it because obviously it means a great deal more to you than it does to me or Kalaong or anyone else with a lick of sense and something productive or interesting to do with their lives or even just the time they spend dicking around on the internet. In response to your last post though let me make something clear, fuck you you self righteous ivory tower douchebag and I kind of wish I could see the day you have to enter the real world and get eaten alive by it's physical and practical realities. You accuse me of knowing nothing about economics yet act as if a nation that intentionally makes it's energy production more costly is going to do anything but fail in the face of any that doesn't. China aint gonna need our money or support much longer, they've built their industrial base, their military power is already great. If China isn't a superpower now they will be soon, very soon they'll be shaking shit up. I just want to try to keep our own civilization up to standard where we wont get run over when that happens. Also I don't want to do anything "collectively" with the EU, screw the EU. I don't like the EU, I don't like it's policies, it's politics, it's philosophy or the French political manipulation and socialist tripe that really makes up it's core mission as an organization. Nor is it worth giving consideration to such a hodgepodge amalgamation of icecream shitting cadamites that'll no doubt shatter the first time it ever faces a real challenge. Also be dismissive of Rand all you want, but like Chrichton that lady made a hell of alot of good sense. Nor is this crap you push "scientific fact", like I said it changes every damned week and that might be fine most of the time but it aint no good when you want to stir me into action. Scientists don't really understand the Higgs Boson either but nor do they try to threaten me saying it'll kill me unless I "change my ways". Any scientific field that changes it's story so frequently and completely as does this shit about manmade climate change is obviously either utterly inept as a whole or still trying to feel itself out to the extent it's obvious that jack and shit is thus far truly known and Jack tends to be pretty flaky and never shows up in time for his shifts. I'm out.

Kalaong: Well, it's doing what Crichton wanted it to do - maintaining an argument which pop culture had thought to have won. It's an "Uncle Tom's Cabin" for environmentalism. It makes environmental skepticism mainstream. "For The Earth" is no longer a blank check. Randist geeks like myself consider that a Good Thing.
  • Mediocrates: Correction, it's maintaining in the American popular culture an argument which has already been won in the scientific world, namely that AGW is very real. As I have previously stated, the reason why Crichton created this bit of dross is because his arguments wouldn't last two minutes in a scientific arena. And honestly I'm not surprised you buy Rand's glorified rehash of ethical egoism, you do strike me as the type to assume a conclusion and then invent evidence for it, just like Rand did.

The Nifty: No need for personal attacks, guys. It's just a sci/fi novel, after all. You can enjoy it while recognizing the science in it isn't accurate. MST3K Mantra and all that.
  • Mediocrates: The accuracy of the science is actually the main point of contention here. Kalaong and Amazing Larry think it's spot on (and thus no MST3K Mantra required), while I do not.

Studiode Kadent: In the book, Crichton never argues that Global Warming isn't an external cost, what he argues is that it is likely non-anthropogenic (i.e. probably not man-made). At no point in the book does Crichton claim there is no such thing as an external cost. Thus, it is debatable whether or not Crichton does in fact Fail Economics Forever.
  • Mediocrates: In this case the trope applies to Crichton's view on pollution in general rather than specifically on global warming. He claims that reducing poverty reduces pollution, when in reality pollution is an external cost and as such simply increasing overall wealth does not fix it. It's not that he claims there is no such thing as an external cost, no one is accusing him of that, it's just that he doesn't know what it entails.
    • Studiode Kadent: "Reducing poverty reduces pollution" is a mischaracterization of Crichton's argument. Crichton is simply pointing out the fact that low-carbon technologies (nuclear power and solar power and the like) have higher economic costs (i.e. the bearer of said costs must forfeit more resources for the same benefits) than high carbon technologies. Thus, wealthier nations can afford to switch to low-carbon technologies, less wealthy nations cannot. Remember that Crichton is assuming that anthropogenic global warming is not real (and therefore is not an external cost that needs to be priced into the use of high-carbon technologies). In spite of whether or not this assumption is true, Crichton is not making an error from an economic perspective. His conclusion follows from his premises. Additionally, even if we accept that Crichton's premise regarding the falseness of anthropogenic global warming is untrue (i.e. that AGW is real), it is still not a foregone conclusion that the economic costs of low-carbon technologies are lower than the economic costs of high-carbon technologies (after all the externalities have been internalized); Yale economist William Nordhaus went through the Stern Report and found that the Stern Report used a discount rate of 0.1%. Economists, when performing cost-benefit analysis, typically use a discount rate of 5% or 10%. Thus, Stern had to use an unrealistically low discount rate in order to argue that mitigating carbon dioxide emissions is economically cheaper than allowing global warming to occur. Since most estimates of the opportunity cost of global warming are based on the Stern Report, it is quite plausible to suppose that even if one priced the external cost of CO 2 emissions into the price of fossil fuels, there is still a distinct possibility that their use would still be economically cheaper than the use of low-carbon, high-technology alternatives.
      • Mediocrates: You said: "Thus, wealthier nations can afford to switch to low-carbon technologies, less wealthy nations cannot." Herein lies the problem. The costs remain external in both the presence and absence of wealth. Now, one could make the argument that by fixing the wealth disparity it makes it significantly easier for an overarching authority to internalize the cost via regulation, and you would be right to do so, but unfortunately Crichton does not make that argument. In fact he specifically argues against international environmental regulations elsewhere in the book when talking on the issue of DDT. He gets part of the way, but falls short of actually internalizing the external cost. Crichton is assuming that fixing the wealth disparity will also somehow fix the pollution without the regulatory step when in reality a company, regardless of whether they are rich or poor, still has no incentive to make the switch. Hence my claim that he does not understand what an external cost actually is. You said: "Remember that Crichton is assuming that anthropogenic global warming is not real." I believe I already said that I acknowledge that in my previous post. The external costs I speak of in this case are such things as reduced air/water quality, contamination of food/water supplies, general toxins (heavy metals for instance) that are produced by industry regardless of whether you accept AGW or not, etc. But now to your other point where we accept AGW as reality. You said: "it is quite plausible to suppose that even if one priced the external cost of CO 2 emissions into the price of fossil fuels, there is still a distinct possibility that their use would still be economically cheaper than the use of low-carbon, high-technology alternatives." No. "It is quite plausible to suppose thatů" means "it is reasonable to assume thatů" when in fact that is not in evidence. It is a possibility. However when one tallies the sheer number of refugees predicted to be displaced in the coming decades, then combines with the effect that more frequent and more intense famine and drought will have on already failing states, and a warmer environment more conducive to spreading diseases, and one is left with a highly unstable geopolitical climate. The decline of the state-based world is an immense cost to any nation-state. Thus while it is possible that the costs of weening ourselves off carbon based energy are greater than the benefits, it is an extremely remote one. And it is one that Nordhaus himself does not see, considering he supports the use of global carbon taxes as a way of stabilizing the world's climate by discouraging the use of carbon based energy. Apparently he still thinks that the cost of remaining with carbon based energy is greater than the cost of switching.
      • Studiode Kadent: Again, my primary criticism is that you are mischaracterizing Crichton's argument. He is not attempting to imply that simply adding more wealth to a country will automatically result in external costs being internalized. He is simply saying that as nations advance up the wealth and tech ladder, they can afford to look after their environment. His argument is one of prioritization, i.e. we should fix hunger and poverty first, THEN when people aren't dying on the streets, the third world can move towards western environmental standards (this is not an irrational argument to make... Bjorn Lomborg makes it himself, and he is a social democrat rather than a rightist. He simply believes the empirical evidence doesn't conclusively prove dangerous AGW). The west has significantly improved environmental standards in the absense of international regulation. The environmental movement has often drawn attention towards genuine problems, which have shifted popular sentiment towards establishing national bodies to regulate the environment. Additionally, one does not necessarily need large regulatory bodies to internalize external costs in the first place: all one needs is to treat pollution as a violation of property rights (I assume you are familiar with the Coase Theorem). Finally, as for Nordhaus and carbon taxation, one of the greatest arguments for a carbon tax actually comes from the AGW skepticism point of view: specifically the tax is easy to repeal if new evidence shows up that disproves the AGW hypothesis. If AGW is in fact real (and the safe quantities of carbon emissions could be quantified), I would (speaking here as an Austrian school economist) support a cap and trade system because as Hayek and Mises demonstrated, the only way to determine the economic costs of something is via a market. So I would caution you against automatically accepting Nordhaus as an ally (not suggesting that he is an enemy of your viewpoint either, I'm simply saying that carbon taxes are easily supported from the AGW skepticism viewpoint as well).
      • Mediocrates: I am not mischaracterizing his argument, I am merely looking at it in its entirety. Crichton says that government should not intervene to stop pollution, thus positing no real solution aside from his "increase wealth" argument. Yes, if one were to make the argument that the relief of poverty and the suffering it brings should be our main priority and leave it at that it would be a fine argument, one that as a Utilitarian I tend to agree with, but ultimately Crichton does not leave it at that. By eliminating the option of government intervention out of hand his argument ceases to be a reasonable one, and instead becomes one that is dominated by a single foundational bias, namely Crichton's belief that one should never have government intervention in the market. And yes, I am familiar with Coase Theorem, and as such I know that it breaks down when it comes to issues such as pollution where the privatization of the good in question is difficult. Or are you actually suggesting that we solve such things as air pollution by privatization instead of by legislation? That we make the very air we breathe property that must be paid for instead of passing laws to regulate emissions? The transaction costs alone would be astronomical, not to mention the ever present issue of free riders and all of the trust problems inherent in collective bargaining. And then there are the more basic technical issues. How is a person supposed to keep their own private air separate and distinct? Imagine the amount of infrastructure that would have to go into such a "solution" and the costs of maintaining it across the entire planet, just think of all the resources that would have to be invested in keeping each and every breathe we take a private good that could have gone elsewhere. No, despite what some people might like to believe, the market is not perfect and to pretend otherwise is delusional. In cases where the market is unable to deal with a crisis an overarching authority is required to step in and deal with the situation. And on the issue of Nordhaus, you missed my point entirely. My point is that while you use his work, he ultimately came to a very different conclusion than you. While you say that the costs of inaction are less than the costs of action, his own statements indicate that he believes that action is the better of the two options. I never talked of sides, of allies or enemies, I merely talked about who he agrees with on certain points. But if we must, then scroll up and look at what I have said in the past when asked what I think we should do about global warming. Perhaps you should be more hesitant about lecturing me on what supporters of a carbon tax do and do not believe.
      • Studiode Kadent: I was not lecturing you. I was using a tone appropriate to the discussion at hand, so I would hope the fact some dissent from you does not in fact offend you. We are merely disagreeing; I would be loath to see a disagreement degenerate into a Flame War. But on to your objection. You seem to believe Chrichton was some sort of radical libertarian. At no time in his career did he ever proclaim belief in radical libertarianism or laissez-faire capitalism, and although he (like many (but not all) libertarians) was an AGW skeptic, he never said that there are no justifications for public intervention in markets. I don't claim to know his political positions in their entirety, but Chrichton's objections to government intervention in the face of dangerous anthropogenic climate change obviously come from the fact he believes the field of climate science to be a dangerously politicized area and that as such the adoption of radical carbon reduction policies based on this likely-slanted (in his view) science is not a wise move. If you want to see all of his positions regarding the actual issue, I'd recommend reading his Senate Testimony as well as his essay "The Dangers of Politicized Science" (indeed, his Senate Testimony verifies Michael Mann's consistent refusal to actually release the raw statistical data and metadata; this being one of the most important issues regarding Climategate). Now, yes, in terms of technical economics it is more or less impossible to privatize air and hence the Coase Theorem probably does not apply in the context of Anthropogenic Global Warming but the overall point I was using the Coase Theorem to illustrate is that the existence of negative externalities does not AUTOMATICALLY mean government intervention is justified. Government intervention in a situation of proven market failure is only justified when the benefits of intervention outweigh the costs related to not intervening. And yes, economically speaking, there is plenty of reasonable debate one can have here even if one assumes the AGWH is correct. For instance, issues relating to the correct discount rate to use (and the Stern Report clearly based its 0.1% discount rate upon a very unorthodox and very controversial belief that it is ethically indefensible to discount future benefits (One would wonder what Sir Nicholas Stern's opinion about the morality of charging interest is)) in calculation of the cost, as well as any potential benefits that may come from global warming (and clearly there are some benefits), versus means of mitigation ranging from technological improvement, carbon sequestration, geoengineering as well as Cap-n-Trade and Carbon Taxation. Bjorn Lomborg (who may I add, is a social democrat and a statistician) perfomed a cost-benefit analysis which argued technological improvement as well as geoengineering are easily the most cost-effective methods of combating climate change, with expansion of nuclear power being around the middle, and both Cap-n-Trade and Carbon Taxation being the least cost-effective ways to do this. The fact that the green movement have very, very rarely looked at ways of combating AGW that are not based on radically changing human lifestyles has many rather scary implications about their beliefs.... from my experience with them, I believe the last thing they want is for technological improvement to save us all (because apparently they want AGW to be the punishment for man's Promethean arrogance and they don't want their narrative to be subverted).

Anonymous Mc Cartneyfan: This is a very long and detailed article with many tropes. It doesn't need to be cut, it just Needs a Better Description.

Some Sort Of Troper: Considering what I had to get through to get here, this page is not as bad as I thought it would be. It can do with touch up but it's nothing more extreme than we have handled before.

Madrugada Agreed. It needs maintenance, not cutting.

Passerby - Last time I tried to, someone just kept reverting shit.

Anonymous Mc Cartneyfan: The description itself has been stable since my last edit. (For how long, I don't know.) Try again; just keep in mind that the contents of the book are as important as the reaction to them.

Kalaong: Someone's being shy. Welcome to ClimateGate!!
  • Holy $#!t, do we have UN security guys trolling the wiki? The greens are LYING! And they're forcibly shutting up people who call them on it! Climategate is NOT going to go away! Quit removing references to the Climatic Research Unit e-mail hacking incident!
    • Robin Zimm: Two things:
      1. Look down.
      2. Given access to the entire archives of someone's email inbox & outbox, it is perfectly easy to make almost anyone look like a criminal and a liar. It's called "quote mining". If they could only find seven emails out of more than a thousand that sound bad, and most if not all of those have reasonable explanations in the context of the scientific field, there exists nothing strong enough to warrant having this argument on the main page, rather than the discussion page.
      • Studiode Kadent: I have to agree with Robin Zimm on this. I'm an AGWH skeptic and I do believe that Climategate exposes some pretty severe breaches of the scientific method (a position shared by quite a few pro-AGWH Climatologists, such as Hans von Storch). However, this is a Wiki that is frequented by tropers of many differing ideological persuasions and as such it should be kept as neutral in tone as possible. Anyway, "Climategate" is so well-known by now (especially by internet-savvy persons) that anyone looking at the TV Tropes wiki is most likely to already know at least something about the incident.

Robin Zimm: I took this line off the main page:

Also, recent discoveries have intriguing similarities to the book.

...for obvious reasons.


Kalaong: Ummm... "outright making a lot of it up"? "not much in the way of research is shown"? There are dozens of pages of references! Do I have to put ALL of those up here, with footnotes? Or would that make Mediocrates hex me to freeze in a global-warming induced ice age?