Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The sadness of Extremism...

Irrational extremism probably turns me off more than just about anything else. I was surfing around today and saw a post somewhere that said something like "...human exterminating CO2 emissions". Besides the scientific inaccuracy of the statement, it just SOUNDS extreme, doesn't it? Doesn't something like that just set off warning bells in your head? Doesn't the sky is falling fare of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" just set off warning bells? Left or right, when someone is sounding an alarm THIS loud, I really start to wonder and worry. We are supposed to be reasonable, rational human beings.

I listen to talk radio. I listen to those on the other side who are just as polarized on this issue. I've heard them, some years ago, deny even the possibility of climate change. Again, an extreme position that sounds warning bells in my head. It's unfortunate that there isn't some good, middle of the road, less polarized talk radio.

I know fully well that this planet's climate changes over time. Anyone who has ever taken a basic science class or two, ought to know that. I can remember some time back (around the 70's as I recall) that there was talk about climate change in the cooling direction, and now it's warming. Just the term Ice Age seems to imply that some major cooling has occurred in the past, don't you think? Climate change in and of itself seems like a no brainier of a concept. Talk radio seems to have finally caught on about Climate change.... at least they do not deny it anymore.

With a topic as hot as Climate Change, enter opportunity, enter extremism, enter political objectives and designs. Enter polarization, enter bad science, bad data and downright fabrication of information for whatever purpose. Frankly, it all makes me sick. I've spent some time reviewing the points of view of both sides. Frankly, the following website seems to provide the clearest cut points of view with regards to Climate Change:

What do I like about Icecap?

1. It seems level headed to me.
2. It does not dismiss the idea of climate change, but challenges the current "Global Warming" is imminent thinking. It does so in quite a powerful way.
3. It makes a good case that the current polarization on the climate change issue may work to our detriment rather than to our benefit.
4. It seems to me to have some pretty good science. No melodrama, no mountains that should have snow and do not. Facts and some good opinion.
5. Check out the recent data on the "Hockey Stick"... One of the center piece datums of Al Gore's movie.

To me, the current Global Warming extremists are dangerous. While there are some clear issues on the front of pollution (China, get your act together and join the 20th century will you?), car emissions (the Utah valley when we have an inversion layer is a blah place to be) and the like, we need to step back and realize that this topic is not one worth the Billions of dollars that could be well spent in a wasted effort. Indeed, we need to ask ourselves *IF* warming is really a bad thing. After a great deal of reading, I'm not sure it is.

The bottom line is that somewhere, kids are starving... Somewhere a genocide is occurring... Somewhere a child is dying at birth because people are not properly trained... Somewhere a terrorist is being trained to kill as many people as possible. These problems seem more immediate to me than the long term potential of Climate Change (measured in decades and centuries) and much more worthy of billions of dollars. Climate Change is important, don't get me wrong, but we have incorrectly prioritized it above humanity in general.

That is a mistake.

The sad thing is, with polarized people, you have to hit them over the head with a brick to convince them.... Even then, that brick had better further their cause and agenda or it won't mater.

Shame human beings can be that way.


bob said...

Just a few words
Why do we need pollution(things that are harmful to things we love)
What are the benefits of having so many billions of people burning things in the air which is a limited resource(we have polluted small areas like air in your valley on certain days or streams, lakes but now we are well on a way of polluting the entire atmosphere and oceans. The earth seemingly can mitigate mankind's effort to dump his waste if given time but the output of waste now is so high and increasing that it is unlikely that nature can maintain the status quo and major changes are in store ...This is what the intensity is about ...Man is causing changes that there is no way to know the outcome ... will it cause flooding, droughts,pestilences? Will our food supplies ie cattle, fish die or become diseased? Will our water supplies become so polluted or so intermittant to be non usable.
No one know for sure the answers other than billions of people will be taken from their comfort zone. Maybe paridise will be achieved for some or maybe humans will become extinct like thousands of species before...
But why move in this path; what are the benefits other than to the insane leaders driving this be able to drive in clogged highways to get somewhere to play at databases in an air conditioned office; to eat the crap served at Mcdonald's or a myriad restaurants or to buy deadly food at supermarkets...Try eating freshly ripened food preferably organically grown out of your garden or a farm and taste the difference or a cooked meal by someone of competence using those tools...perhaps you will never go to Appleby's again if possible...To have a home that is toxic inside to protect you from the toxins outside… to be fat
Would it be nice to grow your own fuel and breath fresh air always... As a society what is holding us back ...Its people like you and people who are much worse. People who lie for a living like much of those in government, media and industry
We have got to stop being complacent and demand fresh water, clean air, natural food, not toxins like chemical pesticides or fertilizers….But it requires a change in attitude … respect for each other and the environment can be fun and enjoyable; learning about how things work and can be made better and how to avoid things that makes life worse is something man was made for. How this got changed around by our culture I understand but cannot accept!
We do need to give ourselves a little space though and stop reproducing so much; perhaps let the human population half by loving one or two children more rather than the need to have 5,6 or a dozen.
I hope you lose your complacency and fight for mankind’s survival and the ability for everyone to have fresh air, water, and toxic free shelters and clean fuels

In a way you are an extremist as part of society that is probably destroying world similar to a German knowingly allowing people to be poisoned and then cooked in an oven. The methods are different but the results the same.

Travel to third world countries like China, India of continents like Africa…visit their factories, refineries, mines, waterways. Breathe the air. Then tell me we are not poisoning humanity. If global warming is truly happening the analogy is complete and most evidence and scientists agree the earth is starting to cook.(Its in America too but we dilute it in the oceans or underground or ship it off overseas. Most of our raw materials that are extracted by toxic methods come from overseas like steel, copper, paper et al)

Remember Rob, learn first what is important …beauty, love, clean air and water, food full of taste,nutrients and toxin free and a home containing all of them … than make it happen not just for you but for everyone!!!!!
All the best

Robert Freeman said...

Ya know, I have started to respond to this a number of times. I've just decided to leave these few thoughts and let everyone else read what Bob has to say.

Bob would have us believe that I am part of the evil conspiracy, that McDonald's is evil food, and that plenty of food in grocery stores is bad for us.

Further Bob seems to think that the average birth rate in the US is something on the order of 5,6 or 12. I'd sure like to see his facts there.

Is Bob actually commenting on my particular faith and the fact that we tend to have large families.. or that I have five kids. Either way, shame on you Bob.

It also seems that Bob would rather that I be stuck in a garden somewhere (I HATE gardening) and that all databases and air conditioned offices are evil. I like databases and air conditioning.

Bob seems to think that it would be better to have crops be destroyed by insects than use pesticides. Wow... this would certainly help Bob's desire to half the population, let's just starve 'em.

Bob seems to think all our leaders are insane.... Hmmm, not sure how much I disagree there.

Finally, Bob apparently can't read. Since no where in the post he is responding too did I state that Global Warming isn't a reality. Of course, the sure sign of an extremists is a total inability to stick to facts.

Bob seems to be a typical extremest left winger. A perfect example of what I'm talking about. I noticed that bob has nothing about himself listed on his Blog profile. There is some risk taking! Common' bob, get out there and write something!

The only difference between Bob and I is that if I was king of the world, I would not make him eat at McDonald's.

Bob, if you were king of the world, would you impose your will upon me and close every McDonald's in sight, because you know whats best for me?

As for me, I'm off to McDonald's Just imagine the toxins...

Then I'm off to the local grocery to go buy that terrible poisoned food that has kept me alive for 42 years. Thats some slowly acting poison!

Joel Garry said...

Speaking of China, Commercial advertisments and love... the google ad as I just read this blog post was for dating hot
Asian girls.

Good to see you getting liberal, Robert! :-)

The cooling climate stuff you half-remember had to do with albedo (reflectivity) measurements. It originally came about after nuclear winter calculations showed what might happen should large amounts of dust be added to the atmosphere. That was indeed an extreme, but it allowed people to start thinking about what measurements to make to decide what is actually happening. Once they started looking, someone (actually, a professor within a few miles of my workplace) noticed global warming. Now a few years later, most people that actually look at such things, rather than just talk about them, agree warming is the obvious trend, with a strong correlation with certain human activities. Now, correlation does not imply causality, but it does allow creation of hypothesis that can be tested.

That is not what I see at

But I agree, the prioritization could be better. Unfortunately, there is no mechanism to effect world rationality. The trend is toward irrationality. Talk radio definitely makes it worse. The internet definitely makes it worse (the opposite of what I would have expected, though obvious now in retrospect).

The madness of crowds. Deal with it.

Robert Freeman said...

>> The madness of crowds. Deal with >> it.

I am dealing with it by expressing my outrage at the sheer stupidity of group think in this forum. There are good reasons we are a republic and not the democracy as everyone seems to think that we are. Group think would be at the top of my list.

As for the advertisement you saw, I've not seen one like that coming from my Google ad's. I'm not saying it's not possible, but I've never seen it. Perhaps it detects some browsing history of the surfer an intelligently picks adds to display as a result? LOL!!! :-)

As for me, I get adds for Mensa, MIT post graduate educational opportunities, and companies wanting to stock up on intellectual talent. Go figure!

Thanks for your comments though, I appreciate a rational approach!


Robert Freeman said...

Just in case it was not clear, I was trying to be funny in my last comment to Joel. I did very much appreciate his comments.


Joel Garry said...

The LOL was a pretty good indicator... :-)

Today it gave a quartet of stock picking ads. Since I don't browse for hot Asian chicks or stock picking, I don't think it is my browsing habits it is commenting on! But I suppose it could be commenting on the inappropriate ads google serves up itself...

I am dealing with it by expressing my outrage at the sheer stupidity of group think in this forum.

I hope I know what you mean, but it looks like you are saying something self-referential about this particular forum... :-)

Subscribe in a reader