"Today we don't just have Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse but an entire cavalry regiment of doom-mongers"

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Brilliant british sociologist Frank Furedi takes on contemporary anti-human prophets of doom in a superb essay, "Confronting the New Misanthropy", at spikedonline. He writes:

Discussions about the future increasingly tend to focus on whether humans will survive. According to green author and Gaia theorist James Lovelock, 'before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be kept in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable'.

More and more books predict there will be an unavoidable global catastrophe; there is James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century, Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, and Eugene Linden's The Winds of Change: Weather and the Destruction of Civilisations. Kunstler's book warns that 'this is a much darker time than 1938, the eve of World War II". In the media there are alarming stories about a mass 'die-off' in the near future and of cities engulfed by rising oceans as a consequence of climate change.

Today we don't just have Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse but an entire cavalry regiment of doom-mongers. It is like a secular version of St John's Revelations, except it is even worse—apparently there is no future for humanity after this predicted apocalypse. Instead of being redeemed, human beings will, it seems, disappear without a trace.

Anxieties about human survival are as old as human history itself. Through catastrophes such as the Deluge or Sodom and Gomorrah, the religious imagination fantasised about the end of the world. More recently, apocalyptic ideas once rooted in magic and theology have been recast as allegedly scientific statements about human destructiveness and irresponsibility. Elbowing aside the mystical St John, Lovelock poses as a prophet-scientist when he states: 'I take my profession seriously, and now I, too, have to bring bad news….' Today, the future of the Earth is said to be jeopardised by human consumption, technological development or by 'man playing God'. And instead of original sin leading to the Fall of Man, we fear the degradation of Nature by an apparently malevolent human species.

Whole essay here.

Thanks to David Ridgely for the heads up.

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  1. before this century is over billions of us will die
    Nearly everyone who’s now alive will die before this century is over.

    “Today, the future of the Earth is said to be jeopardised by human consumption,”
    Ya gotta love that self-important (but passive!) horsepucky.

  2. My favorite is the bit about our “crimes against nature”. We’re natural, everything we do is, by definition, a natural act. It’s not like we transcend the rules of physics and chemistry, it’s just that we’re the smartest monkeys in the great poo-throwing contest of life.

  3. someone hasn’t been paying attention to the glaringly obvious signs of global warming. libertarians are so rife with this cast-off attitude. it makes me sick. face it you have no scientific proof that global warming isn’t happening, you cling on to some caveman crack “science” by people who are only respected by the think tanks that want to continue to prop up big business at all costs. lame.

  4. Lame indeed, J S.
    Nine cliches in only 4 almost-sentences.
    You’ve put Joisey McJoisey to shame!

  5. What amuses me about these doomsayers railing against excessive consumption is that pundits, social observers, and their assorted ilk are the most useless beings on the planet. Construction workers, farmers, postal employees, even data managers are doing useful stuff for large numbers of people, but pundits? They consume more caffeine than should be their allowed amount and produce way more greenhouse gasses than more productive members of society.

    Perhaps that?s why they feel doom is coming from squandering resources, they subconsciously realize their own uselessness?

  6. NOOOOO!!!!
    No it can’t be that “human consumption” among members of a growing population will begin to outstrip the productive capacity of a thin biosphere. That can’t be…because consumption is sacred to the libertarian value system.

    Grow the fuck up folks. Yes, unchecked comsumption will have that effect eventually, notwithstanding your fantasies to the contrary. The laws of thermodynamics still apply to you asshats.

  7. Of course global warming is real, but that means little. Too often people take the phrase global warming to mean something it doesn’t. All global warming means is that the globe is warming, it does not imply the reason. Many people, left and right wing adds “by human cause” to the definition. This is a fallacy. There is nothing in the definition of “gobal” or “warming” that refers to human activity.

    In reality, sure, the globe is warming but the cause is unknown. The history of the planet clearly demonstrates the ability to shift the climate to extremes without any help from us.

    Any cause of global warming must factor in the planet’s natural climate swings.

    I’m sure pumping millions of chemicals into the air is not good for our health but there is no evidence to support it’s bad for the planet. It’s just bad for us. Keep in mind, Earth will be here regardless of the existence of life on it’s surface.

  8. Hey Pony, Why don’t you lead the way and stop consuming so we can save mankind. J-sin, if you’d have spent more time learning grammer and less time crying about the fate of the earth perhaps your posts would be relevant.

  9. The laws of thermodynamics of course apply. But as Julian Simon has long argued, it is human ingenuity (the ultimate resource) that allows us to take a finite number of atoms and rearrange them in ways that make them more valuable in promoting the survival and enrichment of humanity. The human mind is the “x-factor” in the system that enables us to keep “just rearranging” matter in ways that enable the planet to support the consumption of more and more of us at ever increasing levels. “Scientific” pronouncements about the laws of thermodynamics that ignore actual human beings reflect the same anti-human animus that the linked article is addressing.

    Doom and gloom is easy when you only see humans as mouths that consume, rather than minds and hands that produce. It’s people like Pony who fetishize consumption by ignoring humanity’s creative and productive powers.

  10. Everything I’ve read on global warming that isn’t produced by a shill for the hydrocarbon industry says it’s going to be a catastrophe. Even in the Furedi article he never actually refutes a fact, only asserts that the person who originally discovered it is some kind of misanthrope. (Eg. In the middle of the article he quotes a statistic that 1/3 of known bird species have gone extinct in the last 30 years or so. It makes a huge difference to his article whether that statement is true or not, but he never offers any evidence against it.) Global warming concerns me because if the predictions are correct, especially the ones that say we’ve already passed the point of no return, the economy is going to crash in ten years anyway as a result of the warming. If there’s anything we can do to stop a civilization-destroying calamity, I rather think we should make an effort. The two alternatives we’re given now are the Pianka-type “humans are parasites” and the Tech Central Station “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Surely there’s another position possible?

  11. Let’s not conflate separate issues J-Sin. I’ve run across very few people who contest that the earth is, in general, getting warmer. Whether that is happening because of human activity is an entirely different matter, as is whether that warming is an unequivocally bad thing.

  12. I guess everyone understands this, but it won?t be man who dies out, just civilization based on the scientific experimental method. I?m sure no matter what happens vis a vis peak oil, global warming, or giant lizards from outer space, there will still be pockets of people in undeveloped areas who survive just fine, and maybe 3000 years later their descendants will be having the same conversation we?re having right now.

  13. Some environmentalists do seem to be self-hating humans.

  14. “learning grammer” It doesn’t get any better than that.

  15. Okay, will someone please tell me where I can find some information not produced by Exxon that refutes the idea that human-caused global warming is going to be a disaster?

  16. “It’s people like Pony who fetishize consumption by ignoring humanity’s creative and productive powers.”

    Sorry Steve. The fetishizing of consumption is pretty much a pillar among most of the true believers that post here. In fact, along with fetishizing of guns, the equation of $$$ with free speech, and the refusal to embrace pragmatic solutions to real-world problems for fear of compromising ideological purity also figure prominently here.

    Why the fuck do I visit then? Well, you guys tend to be useful watchdogs regarding government waste, decent consitutional analysts, and civil libertarians. But Christ, the knee-jerk anti-environmental act has really gotten old (Thanks Ron. Who’s your paydaddy this week?). It really makes it hard to take most H & R posters seriously when it comes to any discussion about how 6 billion people might want to get together and better manage their habitat.

  17. And nothing moves people to consider your point of view better than telling them to “grow the fuck up” and calling them “asshats”.

    Why don’t you grow the fuck up.

  18. “but it won?t be man who dies out, just civilization based on the scientific experimental method.”

    Actually that’s just the group that’s not getting a fair shake here. Nope, we get redacting magic markers and a Hell of a lot of time and resources spent on systematic denial of an imminent problem.

    Here’s a suggestion: how about if just for a day, all do-nothing advocates spend their time and energy thinking constructively about what can be done about global warming instead of trying to sort out whether or not “doomsayers” are pinkos or misanthropes.

  19. “Why don’t you grow the fuck up.”

    Doing the best I can Marcvs. I lost my way just after “horsepucky” and “poo-throwing.” The elevated level of discourse made me dizzy for a second there. My apologies. Do you do other impressions besides miss manners?

  20. Sure, let’s see “human innovation” and “technology” defeat the laser volcanos. Like that is ever going to happen! It’s game over, people! EVERYBODY PANIC!

  21. That Instapundit-bashing post yesterday has attracted a lot of lefty trolls, and it doesn’t look like they’re going away. This is not good.

  22. “Nope, we get redacting magic markers and a Hell of a lot of time and resources spent on systematic denial of an imminent problem.”

    Perhaps I’m dense (Actually, I know I am), but does the above sentence mean something?

  23. “If there’s anything we can do to stop a civilization-destroying calamity”

    Ah, but there’s the big “if”. The evidence I see to date leads me to conclude that whether we caused the warming or not, our resources would be much better spent in adapting to the changing climate rather than attempting to reverse the changes through the gases we emit.

    Mr. Pony, I’m sure the career bureaucrats holding the leash of the IPCC are already burning plenty of calories imagining how they can manage my habitat better for me. Energy use is very highly correlated with wealth. Countries are not going to collectively decide to make themselves poorer. We’ll have to wait for some kind of global dictator to make those kinds of decisions for us.

    And anyway, human civilization is a very fragile thing which is perfectly capable of collapsing under its own weight with no help from the climate needed. Lets just enjoy the ride while it lasts.

  24. “Thanks Ron. Who’s your paydaddy this week?”
    Pony, that was probably unneccessary, Ron did not go and insult you, and while I am on your side of the issue, Ron (while critical) has more often than not been far fairer and more balanced (and intelligent) than the average Fox News opinionista.

    And I do think there have been a number of Casandras out there who should know better, and are as helpfull as the naysayers…ie not.

  25. “Thanks Ron. Who’s your paydaddy this week?”
    Pony, that was probably unneccessary, Ron did not go and insult you, and while I am on your side of the issue, Ron (while critical) has more often than not been far fairer and more balanced (and intelligent) than the average Fox News opinionista.

    And I do think there have been a number of Casandras out there who should know better, and are as helpfull as the naysayers…ie not.

  26. uhh, so what are we to assume then? that the increases that correlate with human activity must be due to what exactly? sorry but you guys must admit that the tin foil suit has been getting hotter lately…

  27. Karen, it seems that politics (all kinds of politics) are so intertwined with climatology that it’s really hard to get at the truth. Not to mention that large chaotic systems are inherently difficult to gage, let alone predict. I’m not exactly brimming over with trust for TCS, but I also am not impressed with the extrascientific pronouncements of Scientific American or some other outlets that are supposed to have science-based opinions, not political ones.

    What do we know? The Earth has been warming for a number of years. Most of the evidence seems to indicate that some portion of that warming is due to human causes. However, whether we’re affecting things so much as to be the cause of warming is not a settled question. Nor is it at all obvious that any radical changes by us will stop the warming trend or that those changes won’t have a more devastating effect on humanity than global warming.

    We’re going to have to deal with climate change (warming, cooling, wetting, drying, whatever) over the long haul. We’re also going to have an increasingly large impact on the climate and the environment as we grow in number and in power. That’s inevitable. Even if we improve our technology, there’s a problem somewhere out there, even if it isn’t today or tomorrow. I agree with taking this issue seriously, but I discount out of hand anyone who talks about knowing that manmade climate change is going to kill us all in ten years. That’s politics and economics talking, not science.

  28. News flash from “not zero sum” universe:

    If you think COCKROACHES are survivors- just wait.

  29. “That Instapundit-bashing post yesterday has attracted a lot of lefty trolls, and it doesn’t look like they’re going away. This is not good.”

    Oooh scawy leftists! There are liberals under my bed!

    Far be it for anyone to throw a turd in the punchbowl of the do-nothing crowd.

    Tell me, why is it that liberatarians put up such spirited defenses of civil liberty when it comes to guns and taxes, but they duck and cover when topics such as evironmental degradation, resource depletion, and pollution come up? It’s amazing how quickly the whole “your liberty ends when where mine begins” mantra is swept under the rug when it becomes inconvenient.

  30. Its amazing how none of the catastrophizing environmentalists ever explore the possibility of colonizing other planets, thereby putting excess human population off of earth?

    It will probably be the solution in the end.

  31. “That Instapundit-bashing post yesterday has attracted a lot of lefty trolls, and it doesn’t look like they’re going away. This is not good.”

    Oooh scawy leftists! There are liberals under my bed!

    Far be it for anyone to throw a turd in the punchbowl of the do-nothing crowd.

    Tell me, why is it that liberatarians put up such spirited defenses of civil liberty when it comes to guns and taxes, but they duck and cover when topics such as evironmental degradation, resource depletion, and pollution come up? It’s amazing how quickly the whole “your liberty ends when where mine begins” mantra is swept under the rug when it becomes inconvenient.

  32. Or John, there’s alarming concern for the health of our planet. And the health of all the beings that co-exist here. You can call it nihilism all you want, but I don’t see what about the pollution that penetrates our atmosphere could possibly be a good thing. You can say “well energy, cheap energy”. It’s not cheap if it eliminates itself at the rate that fossil fuels disappear. If we had renewable clean energy sources, yes those would be cheap, create jobs, and help our environment. What’s wrong with that vision? It doesn’t seem very dark or doomsday to me.

  33. I agree with taking this issue seriously, but I discount out of hand anyone who talks about knowing that manmade climate change is going to kill us all in ten years

    Pro L.,
    Who is saying that? The Casandras (too late to do anything about it) I hear about say the process will take much longer than ten years to kill us all off. The moderates, like James Hansen, say we have ten years to turn things around…and even then, the worst it would likely get is maybe 21 meters of higher sealevel (in several thousand years, instead of ten thousand years); and that the obsolutely positively worst possibility is like events of 55 million years ago, and certainyl not in ten years, (this is the asteroid we really need to avoid).

  34. Pro Liberate,

    Man has survived in much warmer climates than today. Saying that a warmer climate will lead to his extinction seems like a big leap. I think anyone who believes that would fit into the apocolyptic group I spoke of above.

  35. Karen,
    Which predictions? I’d love to try to refute some of the claims, if only I could nail down what those claims are.

    Last week I read in the BBC that a new study reveals that the REDUCED levels of air pollution – not sure where they got that – are leading to – yes, increased warming! So we pollute more and it leads to warming, we pollute less and it leads to warming!

    My son’s slightly outdated 5th grade science book claims that the planet will warm 1 degree a year, meanwhile I was enjoying a mid 80s National Geograpic the other day that had this story: The Coming Ice Age.

    I’ve tried to sort this out, I really have. I read the blog of a climatologist (a pro-warming one) for a couple of weeks, and you think the comments at Hit and Run are contentious! And these were all bona fide scientists, not jerseymcjones types.

    In the mean time I’ve come up with a simple heuristic: when they can tell me with better than half odds if it’ll rain tomorrow, I’ll start listening. I simply don’t accept that climatology is a mature enough scince to make meaningful predictions. The computer models they use incorrectly predict today’s climate based on known figures from the past.

    On the other hand, there are already plenty of reasons and methods for reducing pollution, why not focus on that? I don’t want to breathe car fumes whether they contribute to warming or not.

    BTW, you might want to read The Skeptical Environmentalist.

  36. J-Sin,

    These issues are far from settled. The answers are not nearly as clear cut as we would like them to be. Perhaps, if you really hate western capitalistic society, you are more likely to beleive the doomsday side of the argument and more likely to hope that it is true and that the whole place burns down. I think there is some real fear and alienation at the bottom of people’s willingness to beleive in the worst case scenerio.

  37. You can go further than the essay and notice that apocalypse means revealing or uncovering, its warning is characterized by messages upon messages, and it destroys everything.

    What it in fact ties to is the moral appearance of another person on your scene in general. Moral means : you are addressed. Which is what, suddenly, makes you irreplaceable and unique.

    What is revealed is not only the other person, but yourself.

    Poetically, the old world ends.

    That story will continue to be written forever.

    Religion in general is the poeticization of ethics.

  38. “It will probably be the solution in the end.”
    ESB, we have realistaclly nowhere to ship them to. And assuming we don’t address our other problems, even with space elevators all over and ships to take them and colonies to house them, we couldn’t ship them off fast enough…we breed to dang fast.

    The Earth doesn’t need fewer (or more) people, it needs better people. Better==smarter, freer, richer people.

  39. sam, I exaggerated for effect. I don’t think anyone with the slightest urge to be credible is suggesting such a timeframe. Sorry for getting carried away 🙂

    Honestly, I think we’ll deal with climate change well enough, whatever its causes. However, there is the possibility that we’ll face some serious repercussions. I agree with John’s point that we’ve dealt with major climate changes before–even in the past thousand years–but I also think we’re more vulnerable now, too. If the more dramatic predictions associated with global warming are at all true, a large number of people could die, and we’d certainly face a serious economic crisis.

    I really wish this issue could be viewed a little more reasonably by all sides, because it’s not unimportant. Someone earlier pointed out, too, that if there’s a real threat now, the more proper response may very well be adapting to the impending change, rather than trying (most likely futilely) to reverse it.

  40. John, that’s the most ridicilous thing I’ve ever read. Why do YOU hate life so much? See, that’s the exact sort of response that elicits the supposed “confusion” that’s out there. What precisely would YOU think has an affect on the environment MORE than humans and the toxins that we put into the air? Cow dung?

    I really think that people that resort to the “why do you hate” responses are just mindless guppies struggling to find the remote.

  41. I discount out of hand anyone who talks about knowing that manmade climate change is going to kill us all in ten years. That’s politics and economics talking, not science.

    Bad economics, at that.

    Tell me, why is it that liberatarians put up such spirited defenses of civil liberty when it comes to guns and taxes, but they duck and cover when topics such as evironmental degradation, resource depletion, and pollution come up? It’s amazing how quickly the whole “your liberty ends when where mine begins” mantra is swept under the rug when it becomes inconvenient.

    Actually, about the only place one hears sensible discussion about capturing or avoiding negative externalities, especially including the environmental impact of human activity, is in places like this.

    The fact is that “6 billion people” are not going “to get together” for any reason, let alone “better manage their habitat.” On the other hand, those who formerly wished to manage humanity collectively (Reds) but have since switched to managing nature collectively (Greens), those folks do indeed elicit a well deserved knee-jerk reaction in these parts.

  42. “ESB, we have realistaclly nowhere to ship them to. And assuming we don’t address our other problems, even with space elevators all over and ships to take them and colonies to house them, we couldn’t ship them off fast enough…we breed to dang fast.”

    Im not saying it would happen tomorrow. And we don’t have anywhere to put people (yet), but the terriforming of Mars is possible, or the colonization of the ocean floor.

    And you wouldn’t have to forcefully “ship” them, there would be plenty of voluntary settlers.

    Its a long term solution, but I never hear it seriously discussed.

  43. Michael Crichton makes an awesome point in Jurassic Park about the whole end of the world scenario thing. To think humanity can extinguish life on earth, be it through human-caused global warming or nuclear war or pollution, is the utmost of arrogance. The earth and the lifeforms thereupon are extremely adaptable, and I think humans can go so far as to really really alter the way things are run on this planet, but I doubt we can kill everything by accident. Crichton used the example of the oxygen revolution to illustrate this: at the time of the oxygen revolution, oxygen was an utterly poisonous gas. Most of the lifeforms on the planet were killed. Nowadays, oxygen is a necessity. If it weren’t for the extinction of vast amounts of lifeforms, we as humans wouldn’t be around today. Just some food for thought.

  44. Thinking that governments are crappy at solving problems and that End-Is-Nigh types have a pretty lousy predictive track record is a fundamentally different position than thinking the Earth isn’t getting warmer and even if it is humans don’t have anything to do with it. Is that so hard for some people to grasp?

  45. “The Earth doesn’t need fewer (or more) people, it needs better people. Better==smarter, freer, richer people.”

    And how would you go about doing that? One child policies, forced abortions, and eugenics carreid out by some Central Population Control Committee? No thanks.

    Even if I didn’t object to that, there is no objective standard as to who is “better”. Is Paris Hilton more valuable than a high school teacher because she has more wealth? I doubt it.

  46. I find it interesting that “Global Warming” comes with the assumption that it is bad. The rise of western civilization seems to have coincided with an earlier global warming.

    The alarmists like to take a stretch of data and extrapolate it to infinity. “If this continues at the current rate…” of course it never continues at the current rate.

    Finally, I have a trademarked term called EnvironMental Patient?, which refers to those who weren’t bright enough to learn real science, they comingle environmentalism with their atheism, casting themselves as the savior.

  47. “What precisely would YOU think has an affect on the environment MORE than humans and the toxins that we put into the air? Cow dung”

    A couple of good volcanic eruptions would have more effect than all of that. Further, so what? The earth has been here for billions of years and will be here for billions more. Nature has survived numorous mass extinctions. Why is the environment circa 1900 or 1800 sacrosanct? I like Polar Bears as much as the next guy and would like to see mankind treat animals and the environment with respect. That said I don’t see anything that man is doing that is going to cause his own extinction or anything close to that. There is nothing wrong with wanting to protect the environment. What is wrong is to raise the stakes of the argument to the level of human survival. That is just bunk and the people who believe it believe so because at some level they look at the destruction of our society as a good thing or as the ineveitable result of a society they don’t like.

  48. “And how would you go about doing that? One child policies, forced abortions, and eugenics carreid out by some Central Population Control Committee? No thanks.”

    None of those you suggest. More Libertarianism please.

  49. Aww guys, be nice to j-sin. He needs some comments on his blog.

  50. J-Sin, I don’t believe there is concern for the beings that co-exist on this planet. While some might worry if anyone was harmed by global warming, I think there are many people in all countries who don’t give a crap about the guy who lives across the street from them, never mind in a nation on the other side of the world.

    As far as voting to lower our standard of living while letting other heavy polluters off the hook, it’s no wonder there was very little support in the US Senate for Kyoto from either side of the aisle.

    Until an environmentalist is elected president (unlikely) or takes over in a violent coup (unlikely due to the green/left abhorrence of guns) the only way the US will do anything that disrupts its economy will be when it’s forced to by other nations. I just don?t see other nations being in a position to do that in the near future.

  51. Pro L and Todd, thanks. Those were the most sensible comments I’ve read on the subject. My personal opinion is that there is no disadvantage to finding an alternative to oil, as soon as possible. Bankrupting Saudi Arabia alone is a good enough reason for that one. (Interesting quote: Sheikh Yamani, Texas Ex and former Saudi oil minister once said “the Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.”) Also, I see no reason why we can’t help China and India industrialize in a manner less damaging to the natural world. What’s the point of knowledge at all if we can’t teach others what we’ve learned? The problem is that this debate is controlled by the “pave every scrap of land we can grab” and “humans are a disease” crowds. There doesn’t seem to be a place for those of us who want to keep the benefits of industrial civilization and preserve the natural world at the same time.

  52. The fact is that “6 billion people” are not going “to get together” for any reason, let alone “better manage their habitat.” On the other hand, those who formerly wished to manage humanity collectively (Reds) but have since switched to managing nature collectively (Greens), those folks do indeed elicit a well deserved knee-jerk reaction in these parts.

    Comment by: D.A. Ridgely at April 20, 2006 11:58 AM

    Particularly the fact that they DO want to reduce our freedoms.
    If we are on the verge of disaster and people do treat the scare-mongers correctly, what do you think governments will do with the authority to manage a world-wide disaster? Why, curtail every liberty in order to save humanity of course!

    Burning too much fossil fuel? No problem, we can just tax people to hell an dcurb their demand. Using too much wasteful energy cooling houses to comfortable 72 F? No problem, have government have regulations for madatory flooring of energy prices to cut demand. Oh, and once people start complaining about disaster efforts? Why we will call them shills for Exxon or Texaco and fine them for harming the disaster prevention efforts.
    I mean, haven’t the disaster-mongers just said that we are on the edge of a precipice, so doesn’t that mean government has the right, no the DUTY!, to use every means from falling into the abyss?
    This is precisly the message us human-hating libertarians hear, so when you talk about “managing” the planet you’re not only talking about a few laws here and there, you’re talking about prevention of disaster the scope of a World War and we know what happens to liberties during a World War…

  53. The fact is that “6 billion people” are not going “to get together” for any reason, let alone “better manage their habitat.” On the other hand, those who formerly wished to manage humanity collectively (Reds) but have since switched to managing nature collectively (Greens), those folks do indeed elicit a well deserved knee-jerk reaction in these parts.

    Comment by: D.A. Ridgely at April 20, 2006 11:58 AM

    Those are some really good points.
    Problem is, whenever someone tries a more free-market approach, or one that doesn’t put our economy in a straight-jacket then many environmentalists get up in arms BECAUSE DISASTER IS COMING YOU FOOLS WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE FOR YOUR GREED!!!11!!

    I’m willing to find more inventive ways of handling such problems, but I don’t like to be lectured to about how I’m a greedy prick sonofabitch and I need force our country to wear some environmental hairshirt for something whose models and data are still in contention.

  54. I agree with John’s point that we’ve dealt with major climate changes before–even in the past thousand years–but I also think we’re more vulnerable now, too.

    Poppycock. As a species, we are much LESS vulnerable. Granted, there are entire nations of people that are extremely vulnerable, but as a species, we’re not going to be affected to a great degree by even the worst predictions of the REAL scientists.

  55. face it you have no scientific proof that global warming isn’t happening

    You sound like my schizophrenic younger brother who uses that ‘negative proof’ fallacy to claim i can’t *disprove* the vast conspiracy that’s been monitoring him through the TV.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_proof

    Yeah, we believe in being generally skeptical cause of ‘teh corporshons!’. Everything is cause of the corporations!~

    Get a life.

    JG

  56. Sheesh, wrong quote, meant to copy this:
    Pro L and Todd, thanks. Those were the most sensible comments I’ve read on the subject. My personal opinion is that there is no disadvantage to finding an alternative to oil, as soon as possible. Bankrupting Saudi Arabia alone is a good enough reason for that one. (Interesting quote: Sheikh Yamani, Texas Ex and former Saudi oil minister once said “the Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.”) Also, I see no reason why we can’t help China and India industrialize in a manner less damaging to the natural world. What’s the point of knowledge at all if we can’t teach others what we’ve learned? The problem is that this debate is controlled by the “pave every scrap of land we can grab” and “humans are a disease” crowds. There doesn’t seem to be a place for those of us who want to keep the benefits of industrial civilization and preserve the natural world at the same time.

    Comment by: Karen at April 20, 2006 12:31 PM

    So I agree with you Karen adn would be willing to find ways to better care for the environment, but J-Sin and Pony-man are modern, secular versions of religious fanatics and nothing short of flagllelation will satisfy them.

  57. Well, Frank,
    as a human and liberty loving person my suggestions (once again) would be to:
    End all subsidies, especially Fossil Fuel subsidies (those subsidies necessary for basic government functions, such as Providing for the Common Defense etc, are OK ..I guess)
    Streamline Regulations…so they actually make things regular, instead of rewarding stupidity.
    help end corrupt and inneficient dictatorships and other dumb governments.
    at least get our own government to pay to clean up its own Co2 waste, via Carbon trading mechanisms (www.carbonfund.org), so as to lead the way; no private citizen should be forced to do this, though ‘opt-out’ might be necessary, not sure about htis aspect.

    How does that sound?

  58. Well, Frank,
    as a human and liberty loving person my suggestions (once again) would be to:
    End all subsidies, especially Fossil Fuel subsidies (those subsidies necessary for basic government functions, such as Providing for the Common Defense etc, are OK ..I guess)
    Streamline Regulations…so they actually make things regular, instead of rewarding stupidity.
    help end corrupt and inneficient dictatorships and other dumb governments.
    at least get our own government to pay to clean up its own Co2 waste, via Carbon trading mechanisms (www.carbonfund.org), so as to lead the way; no private citizen should be forced to do this, though ‘opt-out’ might be necessary, not sure about htis aspect.

    How does that sound?

    Well that sounds fine and dandy to me.

    Problem is that we have an infestation of trolls, J-Sin and Pony-boy, and I am really fighting against their apocalypotic rage.

  59. my above was in response to this:
    “Particularly the fact that they DO want to reduce our freedoms.
    A real problem for libertarians is that the Leftists (and rightists) ALWAYS want to curtail our freedoms (differently for the rightists). The leftists have been rather effective in using the science of climatology to command the debate.

    There is nothing wrong with the science. It’s basically true that the world is warming and human waste gasses are contributing to the warming (or cooling in one aspect).

    In order to avoid having our rights taken away from us, Libertarians need to take command of the debate. Denying/ignoring the science doesn’t do that.

    Get a solution, like I outlined above and many times prior on Hit-and-Run, and take command of the debate -with- the science.

  60. Karen, I’m all for keeping up the pace of technological advance. Some people seem to think technology is an evil, but I think those people just fear change. Understandable reaction, in some ways, because things move faster these days than I think we’re really build to cope with. Most of human history involved very little change over the short term. Still, technological advance has done more good for humanity than any political, economic, or religious system (though Western liberalism probably set the stage for it), and I remain optimistic about it helping us to develop less harmful means of production, etc. and helping to raise the quality of life across the globe.

    We have the ability to get past things like burning oil and coal in the relatively near future. It won’t happen overnight, but I see enough on the horizon to make me hopeful. A Mr. Fusion would be nice, but there are other alternatives as well. Also, if the global standard of living could get up to Western levels, I think we’d see more concern for the environment and a much slower rate of population growth.

    It won’t be long before China and India each pass the U.S. and Europe in usage of oil, coal, and other natural resources. And, since neither nation cares to worry about the environment to the extent that the West does, they’ll be polluting at a much more rapid pace. It’ll be interesting to see how we react when we’re no longer the top “bad guy”.

    It’s entirely possible that we’re going to stumble into something that means disaster for humanity at large. Destroying the environment, nuking ourselves, messing with new technologies that have unexpected consequences (e.g., nano’s “gray goo”, robots taking over, biotech run wild, etc. etc.) are all possible ends to the human story, but we could just as easily disappear without high tech. as well. We just might be able to deal with natural climate change or killer astroids in the future, but not if we go back to living in huts.

  61. Asteroids, that is.

    Poppycock. As a species, we are much LESS vulnerable. Granted, there are entire nations of people that are extremely vulnerable, but as a species, we’re not going to be affected to a great degree by even the worst predictions of the REAL scientists.

    Thomas Paine’s Goiter, I probably wasn’t clear. I meant that we have more people living in vulnerable areas and, really, that we simply have more people. I agree, the species is far less threatened by such things today. Unless God throws an asteroid at us as punishment for my hubris. . . .

    Hey, by the way, why “Goiter”? That came up in a thread a week ago when I quoted Thomas Paine.

  62. lso, I see no reason why we can’t help China and India industrialize in a manner less damaging to the natural world. What’s the point of knowledge at all if we can’t teach others what we’ve learned?

    Karen, China and India can listen, but until alternatives to fossil fuels become AFFORDABLE, developing countries can’t use them.

  63. I really think that people that resort to the “why do you hate” responses are just mindless guppies struggling to find the remote.

    Uh, cuz that’s what the thread title was about. If people want to screech about global warming AGAIN, go ahead. Yawn.

    I think it’s interesting to notice, as the thread topic suggests, and as John says, that there have always been groups of people throughout history who not only believe that human apocolypse is nigh, they actively desire it. Sometimes they resorted to civil disobedience, rebellion or massacre, and were smacked down by the authorities. In medieval Europe, the Church branded some groups like this heretics and tried to hunt them out of existence.

    As for today’s environmental doom-sayers – I’m an active outdoorswoman, and I can tell ya, there are plenty of people I meet who seem to actually relish the idea of “people getting what they deserve” for “hurting the planet”. To a man (or woman) they have been secular atheists, and well-educated (but not in the physical sciences). They come from middle-class backgrounds (students and academics who consider themselves “poor” are not at all actually poor). I have actually overheard people complaining that they will let “just anyone” into national parks and hiking trails – the assumption being that only the anointed few environmental acolytes should be allowed to use these resources. And I know this is their point of view because I asked them to explain themselves, I was so shocked by their attitude. And people get very *angry* when they begin to articulate this belief. It’s disturbing. It’s way beyond crochety misanthropy.

    This phenomenon is interesting to me because it is so foreign to my worldview. I guess I just don’t have the “humankind is a blight” gene at all. Do cultures with no “end of the world” religious tradition spawn Apocolyptics?

  64. Environmentalism that makes sense to me:

    1) Defining pollution as that which causes measurable public harm and forcing internalization of NET costs to the extent possible.

    2) Going nuclear. It is the cleanest legitimate energy source on the planet right now.

    3) Ensuring that barrier to entry for clean technologies is an overcomeable problem. This probably means establishing incentives to loacalities that are able to convert their use to efficient renewables. Devil is in the details there, of course.

    Environmentalism I don’t understand:

    1) Defining the state of nature 10,000 years ago as base line and every molecule changed since then as pollution, and forcing internalization of THOSE costs.

    2) Taking significant, growth reducing actions to reduce greenhouse gasses. We would have a known cost and no idea if we are helping things at all. I submit that the ‘do nothing’ club who spends no money is far superior to the ‘do nothing’ club that buys self satisfaction to the tune of trillions of dollars over the coming decades.

    3) Pretending that solar or wind is a way out of anything. These are regionalized supplements to a real energy source at best.

  65. “Also, I see no reason why we can’t help China and India industrialize in a manner less damaging to the natural world. What’s the point of knowledge at all if we can’t teach others what we’ve learned?”

    I am not sure China would look at it as us ‘teaching’ them. We would just be the big , bad , ‘imperialistic’ America that so many Europeans see us as.

  66. Environmentalism is just another form of religion, Bee, and as such looks upon man as a sinful despoiler.

  67. “The Earth doesn’t need fewer (or more) people, it needs better people. Better==smarter, freer, richer people.”

    And how would you go about doing that? One child policies, forced abortions, and eugenics carreid out by some Central Population Control Committee? No thanks.

    People tend to control their own populations if they have the means to. The wealthier Western countries aren’t even replacing themselves, population-wise. As soon as Third World countries get access to effective, affordable birth control (and in some cases make some necessary cultural changes) they start having fewer children too.

  68. Thomas Paine’s Goiter, I probably wasn’t clear. I meant that we have more people living in vulnerable areas and, really, that we simply have more people. I agree, the species is far less threatened by such things today. Unless God throws an asteroid at us as punishment for my hubris. . . .

    Ah, I see. So more members of the species are at risk. That’s fine, but, as a percentage of the species, we’re at a much lower risk now than ever.

    Hey, by the way, why “Goiter”? That came up in a thread a week ago when I quoted Thomas Paine.

    Because Paine fucking ruled and I’m a PITA like a goiter.

  69. Climate change will f*** us in the future, at some point, no matter what we do with greenhouse gas emissions. When you examine any climatic proxy record covering a long period of time, you see the past was full of abrupt, geographically widespread climate shifts that, if they occurred today, would be devastating.

    I do think that there is an anthropogenic component to the warming we’ve seen over the past century, and these observations should not be taken as an argument against taking anthropogenic warming seriously, but I think the doom and gloomsters are actually way too optimistic in thinking that things will be fine if we just don’t mess with the atmosphere.

  70. “Climate change will f*** us in the future, at some point, no matter what we do with greenhouse gas emissions”

    I’d like to be more optimistic and say that Climate Change will ‘challenge’ us; and that it is we who will either f*** up or rise above it.

  71. Everything I’ve read on global warming that isn’t produced by a shill for the hydrocarbon industry says it’s going to be a catastrophe.

    Of course, you “know” they are a hydrocarbon shill, because they denie global warming is going to be a catasprophy. It is circular logic.

    “The only people who deny family values are being destroyed are satanists!” “How do you know they are satanists?” “Well, if they weren’t satanists, they wouldn’t deny that family values are being destroyed”.

    Okay, will someone please tell me where I can find some information not produced by Exxon that refutes the idea that human-caused global warming is going to be a disaster?

    Show me some information, not produced by satanists, that proves that satanists aren’t secretly running the world.

    No scientists have shown that global warming is going to be a disaster, so what do I have to refute. People talk about “scientist” saying the end of the world is coming. Well, a few have talked out of there ass, but there is no scientific study that suggests major problems will happen. There are some that study what COULD happen, but they don’t claim it is what will happen.

    Tell me, why is it that liberatarians put up such spirited defenses of civil liberty when it comes to guns and taxes, but they duck and cover when topics such as evironmental degradation, resource depletion, and pollution come up? It’s amazing how quickly the whole “your liberty ends when where mine begins” mantra is swept under the rug when it becomes inconvenient.

    Because most “enviornmentalists” are using the “enviornment” as an excuse for government power. Every single solution presented by every single so-called enviornmental group involves massive government central planning, control, survalence. Most so-called enviornmentalists have a totalitarian vision for government.

    When they say “We should do something about the enviornment”, they mean “The government should do something to stop the free market”. Enviornmentalists will not accept any solution to global warming that doesn’t involve a totalitarian government. And considering that many in the enviornmentalist movement were pro-totalitarian before they joined the envoirmentalist movement, it makes sense that they are using the enviornment as an excuse for totalitarianism now that Communism has failed.

  72. Bee,

    I read a quote once by a former Russian soldier who was a part of the efforts to purge the Kulaks in Stalinist Russia in the 1930s, which of course lead to famine and the death of millions of innocent people. He talked about how they took their jobs of removing people from the land and taking all of their food with such seriousness and enthusiasum because they felt so strongly the need to save the pesentry from their lower state of political consciousness. Whenever I run into the types you describe, I think of that quote. To me its the same mentality just transfered to a different subject.

  73. “Enviornmentalists will not accept any solution to global warming that doesn’t involve a totalitarian government.”

    so whats your solution?

  74. Sam,

    I hope you meant that to be ironic and funny, becuase if you did, it is the funniest thing I have read in a long time.

  75. No seriously…

    The Leftist greenies (and the communists)) own the debate. They own it because the science does point in the direction of potential for disaster…if ignored that is. So they take it and repaint it into alarmism and offer the solution of totalitarianism as if it were the only possible solution.

    The Rightists (religionists) want to ignore it too since it may lead to Rapture or whatever. So they ignore/deny or at least point at the monkeying of the leftists as proof that the whole thing is false. And they never really cared for that whole science stuff anyway.

    So now I see Libertarians apeing the Rightists; mostly so they can bitch about the leftists. But so far have no real independent observations of their own, much less solutions; and are content to ignore and deny the science.

    But it’s the science that matters in the debate. Own the science and you own the debate. If you don’t want the leftists to take away your rights you better get the science away from them. This won’t be wasy due to the nature of the science, ie Climate Change is real. It’s the Leftist totalitarian solution which is stupid. Meet them at the science and deny them monopoly, and then take away and own the Solution?.

    What is the Solution??

    The Level One Civilization. Google it. Basically a global civilization which has learned to manage it’s own planet’s energies and climate. You won’t get there by trying to micromangle the planet through totalitarianism. Only voluntary democratic free-market forces are both powerful and intelligent enough to manage the whole shebang; but it has to be honest about the science. This is why I side with Libertarianism…I am just disapointed with the Libertarians so far.

  76. actually, google ‘Kardashev scale’

  77. Aww guys, be nice to j-sin. He needs some comments on his blog.

    yawn. that blog is brand new noob.

    What is wrong is to raise the stakes of the argument to the level of human survival. That is just bunk and the people who believe it believe so because at some level they look at the destruction of our society as a good thing or as the ineveitable result of a society they don’t like.

    oh I don’t know, the folks that lost their lives because of Katrina might have something to say about the stakes.

    Problem is that we have an infestation of trolls, J-Sin and Pony-boy, and I am really fighting against their apocalypotic rage.

    trolls? “oh upperhand, you just nailed me there!” and what about saying that global warming does exist necessitates “apocalypotic rage”?

    “As for today’s environmental doom-sayers – I’m an active outdoorswoman, and I can tell ya, there are plenty of people I meet who seem to actually relish the idea of “people getting what they deserve” for “hurting the planet”. To a man (or woman) they have been secular atheists, and well-educated (but not in the physical sciences). They come from middle-class backgrounds (students and academics who consider themselves “poor” are not at all actually poor). I have actually overheard people complaining that they will let “just anyone” into national parks and hiking trails – the assumption being that only the anointed few environmental acolytes should be allowed to use these resources. And I know this is their point of view because I asked them to explain themselves, I was so shocked by their attitude. And people get very *angry* when they begin to articulate this belief. It’s disturbing. It’s way beyond crochety misanthropy.”

    Dear Cliche,

    You’re boring. Let us know when you want to have a real discussion and not lame knee jerk stereotyping.

    We could rattle sabers about who’s who and what’s motivating what, but that’s the same ineptitude that’s dashing away from us in the realm of scientific study after study that essentially concludes the same thing, in which, another administration comes in and says the same deja vu of “gee I’m not convinced yet, (thank you big business for contribuing to my campaign), but I’m really concerned about this. Here’s several million to fund another study”.

    And to think I used to call myself a Libertarian. Then the “liberty” got hijacked by the “cash money”. weak.

  78. John:

    “Whether it be global warming, pandemic flu, meteor impact, ecocide, ect.., people turn to doomsday scenarios in the hope that the society they are so alienated from and so loath will be destroyed.”

    I believe you’re right.

    Walker Percy once wrote that “the heart’s desire of the alienated man is to see vines sprouting through the masonry.” It’s a line I can still resonate to, though I’m no longer hoping for the end of the world as we know it to occur.

  79. One thing about the Kunstler book: He’s done his critics a huge favor by giving his apocalyptic vision a really short timeline. In an interview a couple months ago, he predicted the long emergency would result in total social cataclysm by late 2006, early 2007 at the latest. Not since the Seventh-Day Adventists has a doomsayer given us such a falsifiable prophesy.

  80. “oh I don’t know, the folks that lost their lives because of Katrina might have something to say about the stakes.”

    Yes, the death in Katrina were the result of global warming, not the fact that people were living below or near sea level in an area prone to hurricanes and either could not or would not get out of the way. Afterall, there have never been big hurricanes before Katrina, except of course Andrew, Ivan, Charley, Camille, the 1900 Galvaston storm, ect… If you honestly beleive that Katrina is the result of global warming, then thank you for providing an example of exactly what I was talking about.

  81. Ah, the Mother Goddess sent Katrina to punish America for its sins against Gaia and for the tax cuts. It couldn’t maybe be just another hurricane. In a predicted upswing in the hurricane cycle. Predicted for years with no reference whatsoever to global warming being the culprit.

  82. Katrina, except of course Andrew, Ivan, Charley, Camille, the 1900 Galvaston storm

    Katrina = 2005
    Andrew = 1992
    Ivan = 2004
    Charley = 2004

    only Camille and the Galvaston storm are ones in the past, and both were well within the industrial revolution’s reach. So what were you trying to prove again? OOH OOOH NEXT I BET YOU’LL SAY “but, but, the winters have gotten colder too, and there was lots of snow, so global WARMING can’t exist”. Clearly no one weather incident can indicate anything, but the ramp-up CAN.

  83. I agree with john, Katrina /= G.Warming

    anyway before going to bed I thought I would briefly better explicate my GW Solution? ==Level 1 Civ ==Libertarianism thing.

    Basically every aspect of our environment would need to be given a realistic market value. A recent study estimated that otherwise unwanted insects in the U.S. provide (iirc) $57 billion dollars worth of services every year free of charge! Stuff like that. On an energy budget, what is the real market value of all the Suns light which illuminates the earth? What is the real value of that seemingly worthless patch of desert etc. Totalitarians don’t really care about that stuff, they just want to control people. Free Democratic Markets can make it really work.

    Think about it.

    ?iao, time4ZZzzzz…

  84. J-Sin, my point isn’t that global warming couldn’t include changes in the weather, it’s that the increase in the number and force of storms has been predicted for some years now. I live in Tampa and can tell you that we’d been hearing about the then-impending upswing for several years prior to the actual upswing. Plenty of reputable climatologists have made this point when denying any clear connection between the current hurricane activity and global warming. Now, if hurricanes keep getting worse, well, that would be a different story.

    The cycle is roughly thirty years, with the last peak being in the 60s, I believe. What I haven’t heard is how long this lasts before we go back to the low cycle. I’ve been happy to say “?ol?!” as storms go past my area, but they ain’t gonna keep missing us at this rate.

  85. J-Sin

    Are you seriously saying that Global Warming had anything to do with Katrina?

    If you are it’s a good indication of how seriously we should take you, because climate scientists have gone to great lengths explaining that the current hurricane cycle is completely urelated to Global Warming.

    There is absolutely zero evidence that hurricanes are any more frequent now than any time in the past.

  86. Here’s what seems to be a good, brief analysis. The author does not appear to be a shill for the “hydrocarbon” industry and does acknowledge that humans need to change their behavior.
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/060407.html

  87. j-sin, you’d have a better eception around here if you responded to all the telling points against you, not just the slow pitches.

  88. Since when does critiquing the science equate with “do nothing”?

    We have a problem here in discourse. The proponents of AGW disaster refuse to respond to critics with actual proof of their contentions.

    Part of what is happening with younger people, including scientists is that they went to schools where there teachers taught from an anti-capitalist stance and with the assumption of AGW disaster as self eveident.

    There is no contention of a warming trend in the past several centuries. We have been recovering from the last mini ice age. Much of North America has been scoured by glaciers. We should give thanks for the warming that made those glaciers retreat, else most of us would not exist.

  89. There is no contention of a warming trend in the past several centuries. We have been recovering from the last mini ice age. Much of North America has been scoured by glaciers. We should give thanks for the warming that made those glaciers retreat, else most of us would not exist.

    ++Quoted for truth++ I’m not one much for reindeer jerky as a daily diet staple.

    No one’s mentioned Niven and Pournell’s Fallen Angels yet, so I’ll throw that one out there. Good to back and read every couple years. Damn good SF (except for the enviromentalist command & control nutjob profile; nothing fictional about that aspect whatsoever).

    My standard response ot the kill-em-all misanthrops is “Let’s start with you and see how it goes.”

  90. “The proponents of AGW disaster refuse to respond to critics with actual proof of their contentions.

    This is what I’ve reffered to in the past on H&R as the Denialism and Willfull-Ignorance. to which I will add Very Mobile Goalposts. Here lets rephrase that a bit:

    “The proponents of Evolution refuse to respond to critics with actual proof of their contentions.

    Sound familiar?

    More about ‘Proof’:
    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/04/scientists-arent-even-sure.html

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