‘The Heirs of Prometheus’ by Athena, Dyson reviews books on Global Warming

It’s slightly cloudy — unusual for sunny Florida. The air smells of the ocean, alive with birds: gulls, pelicans, hawks. On a wooden platform, a group of people of all ages and colors is squinting fixedly at a point on the horizon about two kilometers away, where a gantry holds a slim rocket that balances a tiny load on its nose. A level voice announces from the loudspeakers: “The T minus ten holding period is over. We’re going forward.”

The people break into wild cheers, then fall eerily silent. Curious children are shushed and told to look there, there; final adjustments are made to cameras and binoculars. The minus ten holding period is the last chance to abort. The weather was such that until this moment the decision to launch could change.

Like heartbeats, the announcements come. “T minus five… minus three… minus one… T minus thirty seconds… minus twenty seconds… minus ten seconds… Now you can hear a pin drop. “Nine… eight.. seven… six… five… four…. three… two…” All the spectators shiver, holding their breath.

“Liftoff!”

A beautiful essay by Athena of Star Ship Reckless, Astrogator’s Logs

_________________________________________________________________________________

Some words from Freeman Dyson:

In the history of science it has often happened that the majority was wrong and refused to listen to a minority that later turned out to be right. It may—or may not—be that the present is such a time. The great virtue of Nordhaus’s economic analysis is that it remains valid whether the majority view is right or wrong. Nordhaus’s optimum policy takes both possibilities into account. Zedillo in his introduction summarizes the arguments of each contributor in turn. He maintains the neutrality appropriate to a conference chairman, and gives equal space to Lindzen and to Rahmstorf. He betrays his own opinion only in a single sentence with a short parenthesis: “Climate change may not be the world’s most pressing problem (as I am convinced it is not), but it could still prove to be the most complex challenge the world has ever faced.”

The last five chapters of the Zedillo book are by writers from five of the countries most concerned with the politics of global warming: Russia, Britain, Canada, India, and China. Each of the five authors has been responsible for giving technical advice to a government, and each of them gives us a statement of that government’s policy. Howard Dalton, spokesman for the British government, is the most dogmatic. His final paragraph begins:

It is the firm view of the United Kingdom that climate change constitutes a major threat to the environment and human society, that urgent action is needed now across the world to avert that threat, and that the developed world needs to show leadership in tackling climate change.

The United Kingdom has made up its mind and takes the view that any individuals who disagree with government policy should be ignored. This dogmatic tone is also adopted by the Royal Society, the British equivalent of the US National Academy of Sciences. The Royal Society recently published a pamphlet addressed to the general public with the title “Climate Change Controversies: A Simple Guide.” The pamphlet says:

This is not intended to provide exhaustive answers to every contentious argument that has been put forward by those who seek to distort and undermine the science of climate change and deny the seriousness of the potential consequences of global warming.

In other words, if you disagree with the majority opinion about global warming, you are an enemy of science. The authors of the pamphlet appear to have forgotten the ancient motto of the Royal Society, Nullius in Verba, which means, “Nobody’s word is final.”

Yes, the famous physicist Freeman Dyson, “that one”, contents that global warming isn’t purely human driven and that the scientific community is dogmatic on the subject by blasting opponents. Dyson’s reviews of these books; ‘A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies, by William Nordhaus, Yale University Press.’ and ‘Global Warming: Looking Beyond Kyoto, edited by Ernesto Zedillo, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization/Brookings Institution Press’questions whether or not the meme is economically driven.

Now where have I read that before, hmmm…?  *visions of a certain evangalistic gear jammer driving his tractor-trailer back and forth over the carcasses of a recent Nobel Prize recipient and a person with the same name as a motorcycle…*

The Question of Global Warming

Environmentalism as religion

UPDATE: George Dvorsky, a noted transhumanist and Singularity proponent blogs on this also: http://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2008/05/freeman-dyson-on-religion-of.html

Amazing, simply amazing. Dogma permiates discourse in all areas of discussion, science, religion, whatever. And denial flies through the air like farmers spreading liquid cow sh*t.

F*cking amazing.  😕

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3 responses

  1. The Highwayman | Reply

    “Now where have I read that before, hmmm…? *visions of a certain evangalistic gear jammer driving his tractor-trailer back and forth over the carcasses of a recent Nobel Prize recipient and a person with the same name as a motorcycle…*”

    😆

    That made my day, Marine! What a sweet dream!

  2. Well, I’ve got to admit that Dyson does rattle my cage a bit, as he adds the “ism” suffix to the word environmental, making my thoughts on the degradation of the environment become the same discussion as Agnosticism vs Buddhism. No one in their right mind would touch this argument with a ten foot pole.

    I like to hold the belief that I am a free thinker, and that the planet and everything on it are evolving, but I better be careful when there are folks like Dyson around because it’s a sure thing that I’ll be accused of being a believer in evolutionism and become deeply involved in what he might call a schism.

    The idea that planets can eventually become stars and that it’s the natural order of things both in the macrocosm and the microcosm is older than Western thought. So to me it seems natural that Earth is growing in size, thereby increasing in temperature, but in increments undiscernable in our lifetime. Laying blame on anyone or thing for the current warming phenomena doesn’t make any sense to me, because we are all part of this natural order of things…G:

  3. I agree Geez, that damn ‘ism’ thing is radioactive as Cheneyburton’s shorts, I try to avoid using it when I’m able.

    I love science and all, but that is prone to ‘isms’ as religion is. I’ve been ranting about dogma all the way around this week here and while commenting on other sites. I’ve come to the conclusion that human beans can be smug and damn idiotic about darn near anything.

    The most ‘intelligent’ ones are the worst, well, just as pompous about their certitude as any fundie.

    No room for any humility what-so-ever. 😕

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