29 September 2007

Adams on Lomberg

Scott Adams has a very interesting piece on his blog, describing Bjorn Lomberg's appearance on Bill Maher's TV show.

The Danish economist’s argument doesn't fall into the established views about global warming. He wasn't denying it is happening, or denying humans are a major cause. But he also wasn’t saying we should drive hybrid cars, since he thinks it won’t be enough to help. He thinks we need to make solar (or other alternatives) more economical. That’s the magic bullet. His views don’t map to either popular camp on this issue, and it created a fascinating cognitive dissonance in Bill Maher (a fan of hybrid cars) and his panelists.

Adams went on:
"It looks to me like a classic case of cognitive dissonance . They literally couldn’t recognize that the economist was on their side because he suggested considering both the positive and negative effects of global warming."

But the economist certainly was not on their side. For Maher and the others, the important thing is that a policy of austerity be introduced, because they consider it morally right. Global Warming is just the excuse. Global Warming is true because it justifies austerity. If Lomberg or anyone disagrees with austerity he is not on their side, whatever he says about the climate. By arguing against austerity, he is removing the reason for Global Warming to be considered true, and therefore he is anti-Global-Warming. Denier! Burn Him!

Adams is imagining a world where observations lead to judgments about facts, which lead to conclusions about policy. That is alien to politicians, and to Maher. For them, policies lead to search for observations which can be connected to possible facts that justify the policy.

I would like to describe myself as in the Adams camp, but in honesty, as I've admitted previously, I can't. The political vision of Gore, Maher and the others is so terrifying to me that it is surely colouring my assessment of the facts concerning climate. All I can do is put up the arguments as I see them, admit my bias, and make sure I don't hide from evidence that contradicts my position. I've yet to see any evidence that I've felt I need to hide from.

This is my most detailed piece on climate. This is all of them.

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