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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Dodgeball Analyzed

Orac

After posting my Dodgeball Routine The Great Orac arose from his slumber. He posted it over at his site so all his scientist buddies could hurl a couple rubber balls back at me. I’m resisting the urge to point out how many of them still throw like girls.

So now that the Science has weighed in, the consensus clearly demonstrates, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that I am a comedian. So perhaps I should try and explain my bit as it were a thesis, which is the level so many scientists want to argue with it.

Remember I'm in the Entertainment Business, and if I were to start reading scientific papers every night, I would be completely out of the business. I would be as broke a a scientist without a grant, and as lonely as a game of Dungeons and Dragons. The nature of Comedy requires that I omit some of the fine details to keep the routine light and fast moving.

If I had to turn this routine into a thesis, my premise was not that Global Warming isn’t happening, but that the consensus is insufficient to warrant legislative action. As I have been told on numerous occasions, there is no reason to debate Global Warming; it is already settled. Global Warming is happening, and it is man made. Those who have called me a denier are not only fabricating a straw man, they are also coming dangerously close to violating the rule against invoking Nazis. There is a big difference between denying a historical fact like the Holocaust, and being skeptical about the consequences of a theory.

My first bit compares Al Gore to Pat Robertson, who both have blamed hurricanes on the activities of humans. While most scientists agree that Pat Robertson is being goofy, not many recognize that Al Gore is being goofy as well. There is no scientific agreement that Hurricanes are caused by Homosexuals or Global Warming; so giving one man trophies, while laughing at the other is nothing more than zealous bigotry. It’s like Catholics laughing at Buddhists for praying to a statue.

Next, we move on to the strength of a consensus. By using examples of historic scientific consensus, that turned out to be wrong, I illustrate how meaningless a consensus can be. Orac loves to point this out as a gotcha, since a failure of science in the past is no indication of it’s current veracity. In fact “The Science Has Been Wrong Before” is a well documented fallacy .

Right now, consensus only gives a 90% chance of a anthropomorphic signal in the observed warming to date. In horse racing terms, that translates to 9 to 1. So betting against future Global Warming catastrophes is a long shot for sure, but not improbable. And if I were betting on a horse with roughly those odds, I might point out to a handicapper, that Seabiscuit in his first race at Aqueduct came in at 26 to 1. That is what I did here. I pointed out that betting on the scientists isn’t always a sure thing, and sometimes it pays off to back a long shot.

Proposals for reducing human impact on the climate include higher taxes, and more expensive energy technologies. Which means that the economy will impacted negatively. Already the small increase in energy costs over the past year is slowing growth, and raising food prices. And if, gas at three bucks a gallon, hasn’t decreased the demand, taxes would have to get that price a lot higher before CO2 levels start decreasing. So we know that any solution to the “crisis” is 100% certain to impact our economy negatively. You don’t put forth legislation that is 100% certain to slow the economy for a theory that is only 90% probable. It is a really bad bet.

Next, I point out that much of what Al Gore says, just apocalyptic rhetoric, because only bad things are predicted to come about from Global Warming. The DVD recorder skipped here so a lot of the point I made didn’t get recorded. Certainly there should be some benefits to Global Warming, and in fact there is science to indicate that warmer weather is good for humanity. I like warm weather. Which is why I personally think we should encourage Global Warming.

Rather than taking a balanced look at the possible outcomes of a warmer climate, many just point to the bad. It is impossible for every result of Global Warming to be harmful. Nature doesn’t care if something is good for humanity or bad for humanity. In fact, Nature has done everything in it’s power to try and eliminate humanity from the face of the earth, and in a victory of Evolution, we survived. (Our use of petroluem is one reason we won the fight.) To say petroleum consumption will result in more human suffering is just moralizing. Which isn’t science, it’s religion.

There is such a rush to scare people, that every disaster gets blamed on global warming. This sometimes causes humorous contradictions, and occasionally a completely ridiculous claim. The diapered astronaut being blamed on AGW was a joke of exaggeration. But that doesn’t mean that equally ridiculous claims are not made: The Secretary General of the United Nations actually blamed Global Warming for the genocide in Darfur. With a straight face.

Well then, if there is no certainty that Global Warming is catastrophic, why would anyone insist that we need things like a carbon tax? Here is where I lose most of the scientists (the Dodgeball Routine). I chronicle the dramatic descent of a smart young boy into the perdition of Socialism. I speculate that there is envy and a desire to control within the hearts of some scientists. Not all scientists, just enough to give my argument some weight. I have met many highly educated people who believe a persons wealth should be in proportion to his education. They claim there’s something wrong with this country, when a guy like Bill Gates could drop out of college and become the world’s wealthiest man. These are the people to whom this bit is dedicated.

Often people without money or power, resent those who have it. Socialism attracts people wrought with envy and impotence. And just like alcoholics often find themselves working in a bar, Socialists often find cover within the environmental movement. The regulations and confiscatory taxation often proposed as environmental solutions, are virtually indistinguishable from Socialism.

And I’m not buying that science supported Al Gore claiming 20 feet. If the 20 foot rise is possible, then why did the IPCC settle on 23 inches by 2100? According to the IPCC: ”Larger values cannot be excluded, but understanding of these effects is too limited to assess their likelihood or provide a best estimate or an upper bound for sea level" Which means it "might" go higher, but there is no consensus on when the 20 foot rise would occur, or if it ever will. If you are arguing from the authority of the consensus, you have to go with 23 inches figure. Which is what I did.

When Gore demonstrated the impact on the world, he used a current map of population centers. That indicated he believed that the twenty-foot rise was imminent. Which was a clearly a scare tactic. Populations can move quite a bit over decades, there is no way anyone is going to sit in one spot as the ocean rises over their heads. New Orleans lost half its population after the last deluge, I can’t imagine that many would stick around if it happens again. Perhaps in another 100 years, the French Quarter will be a really cool dive site. The history of the world is full of population migrations, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change, whether we pass Kyoto or not.

Since Most scientists agree that Global Warming doesn’t cause Hurricanes, there is a 10% possibility that they’re wrong (again), some are just responding to envy and a lust for power, and any ocean rise will be small and gradual; the consensus on Global Warming is insufficient to pass any legislation at this time.

Now where’s my Grant money?

11/4: Corrected math error. Odds are actually only 9 to 1 in favor of Global Warming.

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3 Comments:

  • So let me get this straight:

    Global warming might have benefits, so people shouldn't worry about it. But the laws and taxes we'd pass to fight global warming would ONLY be a huge catastrophe that would destroy our economy.

    This economic doomsaying alarmism has been wrong every time. Seriously, EVERY environmental law passed since the '70s was supposed to be the one that sent us back to living in caves. I'm surprised there's anything left for the big, bad carbon tax to allegedly jeopardize.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:54 PM, November 04, 2007  

  • "This economic doomsaying alarmism has been wrong every time. "

    Ah yes. The old "Economics Have Been Wrong Before" canard.

    By Blogger Tim Slagle, at 7:10 PM, November 04, 2007  

  • The actual history of socialist regimes show they're captured by the dodgeball bullies.

    As for the dangers of environmental law, for a decade or two after the EPA was founded productivity growth slowed down drastically.

    By Blogger Joseph, at 10:33 AM, November 06, 2007  

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