J Thomas on January 01, 2011, 07:34:43 am

If global warming were neither real nor anthropic, the scientific community's solution would be for Scientists to write papers showing this, approve of them, and change the consensus. Statism really has little to do with it.

Various people doing "history of science" have claimed that big changes like that require "scientific revolutions" which don't come easy. Scientists stay with the consensus until there is some big wrenching dislocation and afterward scientists tend to stay with a new consensus. I don't know how true that is. The researchers who study history of science do not after all use anything like scientific method -- they tend to start with their own ideas of how they expect things to work and then they look for historical evidence that supports their claims.... Still, those claims are widely believed.

As a separate question, if science is done this way now, how would it be different in an AnCap society? My thought is that if science was done entirely by hobbyists, there would be far less consensus about what is true, and hobbyist scientists would have little sense of professionalism or professional competence. So they would not be as likely to develop orthodoxies. But if an AnCap society did develop professional scientists (or scientists who did strongly care about their reputations for any reason), then it would be pretty much like it is today -- whatever it is today.

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The scientific consensus is that global warming is happening not because thousands of scientists are dishonest jerks, but because all the evidence available indicates that temperatures have been rising rapidly for the last century.

Sure, but it's possible to claim that all of this data is contaminated by people who fudged it to fit the conclusions they wanted to reach. Once you make the assumption that the data has been systematically falsified, then you can feel justified to ignore it.

Then when it becomes obvious that the climate is changing, the fallback fortifications are based on the claim that it's natural causes that have nothing to do with humanity. Until that claim has been definitively disproved, they can claim that the climate just changes with no input from humans.

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The scientific consensus is that global warming is probably anthropic because the level of CO2 in the atmosphere today is orders of magnitude greater than it should be under the correlation provided by the ice core record.

If today's CO2 level was 'following' global temperature rise, then in the early part of the second millenium, global temperature would have had to rise many many degrees. Which it didn't. The current CO2 level is off the charts.

Sure, but to deny that, one can simply claim that CO2 does not have much to do with changing climate. It's one minor variable among many major variables. If you argue otherwise then it can be claimed that you are depending on mathematical models which do not adequately predict the future, therefore your models are wrong, therefore you are wrong that CO2 has much effect. So deniers can say that until you have mathematical models which are proven to correctly predict world climate over the next 500 years, you don't know what you're talking about. Therefore they are right to say that CO2 is not important and that humans have no effect on climate and you are wrong if you say that burning fossil fuels probably does have an effect.

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Normal ice ages and warm periods are not believed to be caused by CO2, so it makes sense for them to instead cause CO2 buildup to fit the warmer periods. (They are believed to be caused by variations in the earth's orbit).

Well see, the natural denial here is that CO2 is not a cause this time either.

The fallback position from that, is that since the climate does change from natural causes, maybe we're heading into an ice age and only human-caused global warming can stop it. We're better off to avoid an ice age, aren't we? It could even be an ice age where the glaciers from the north meet the glaciers from the south and there's nothing but ice anywhere. You don't want that, now do you. So let's save the world with global warming.

Sure, this all sounds like the most cynical manipulation, but I have reason to think that some people actually believe it.

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So if you can invent a circumstance where AnCap fails, so what? It's easy to do. "Imagine there's a bunch of plant diseases that kill all the crops on earth and in fact all the green plants. How does an AnCap society survive that?" "A couple of statist societies get in a war and nuke each other enough to kill everybody on the planet. How does an AnCap society keep that from happening?" We don't have to decide ahead of time how to solve every possible problem that might ever happen.

The last problem however is quite realistic.

As a pragmatist, I judge social arrangements by the practical and realistic outcomes.

I agree. So an AnCap society might create *some* extremely practical and realistic social arrangements, that are very much worth having. It could be worth doing even if no one can prove ahead of time that it will solve every problem that a society could ever have.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2011, 07:55:26 am by J Thomas »

J Thomas on January 01, 2011, 08:25:43 am
However, the question this raises is... do you believe his point of view is right?

If you are likely to be punished for doubting X, X is unlikely to be true.

This is both absurd and perverse.

In general, people who punish doubters do so to protect their privileged positions in a stable society. They neither know nor care whether the beliefs they support are true. It is perverse to use their social position to estimate truth.

So for example, various racist societies have argued that the disfavored race is inherently inferior, that they are like children who must be "protected" and "taught". This position has been taken about native americans, australian aborigines, blacks in the USA and in africa, etc. Is it true? Who knows? That would have to be tested, and any objective testers run into political problems in either a racist or an anti-racist society. But to argue for example that blacks in the USA were probably not inferior before 1968 but probably were inferior after 1968 is absurd. Which position people get punished for asserting has nothing to do with which position is correct.

There is no necessary relationship between the beliefs that get enforced and the truth of those beliefs. There is probably not even a statistical relationship between those, although I am unclear how to perform those statistics.

Very often the beliefs that get enforced are moral beliefs anyway, which are outside the domain of truth. When you take a moral stand it's your stand, it isn't true or false.

Holt on January 01, 2011, 08:49:35 am
You know the argument on global warming makes me think.

What if we make a better world for nothing? Wouldn't that just be terrible?
Imagine it. A world with cleaner air in population centres, energy independence for most nations, nicer places to live, preserve the Earth's environment, have healthier children as a result of the cleaner environment and can actually drink water straight out of a river again?

And it turned out global warming was all a sham to get us to do this. Wouldn't that just be awful?

NotDebonair on January 01, 2011, 09:07:40 am
The AnCap solution to actual global warming would be to move to the asteroid belt.

 :)

Holt on January 01, 2011, 09:09:45 am
The AnCap solution to actual global warming would be to move to the asteroid belt.

 :)


I would love to see how that would work in our world.

J Thomas on January 01, 2011, 09:14:42 am
What if global warming were real, and anthropic?

What would the anarcho-capitalist solution to anthropic global warming be?

OK, let us assume that Global Warming is real and anthropic.  Trouble is that giving power to governments does not actually solve the problem, since it is in the interests of any one government to use more carbon, since it gets the benefit, and most of the cost is external.  So you need a one world "Climate Treaty Organization" with authority over all acts that might emit carbon - in other words, a socialist one world government for the entire world.

I agree. This is obviously a bad attempt at a solution.

The whole global warming idea is based on the assumption that physical scientists can tell whether we are heading for problems by burning so much fossil fuel. The obvious next step was to ask social scientists how to respond to that. We could ask political scientists what to expect from governments. We could ask anthropologists and international relations experts etc about intercultural problems and diplomacy etc. Ask economists how to arrange the transition. Ask engineers what sort of existing technology could be applied and what sorts of new technology are plausible. Go back to the economists to see how new technology could be phased in. Etc.

The result should be an assortment of plans that would be the best our scientific consensus could create. They would be acceptable to the US government and to US society, because sociologists and political scientists and advertisers would get a degree of veto. They would be acceptable to foreign governments and foreign populations. They would be economically feasible. They would be flexible enough to incorporate new technology as that technology becomes available. Wherever the scientific consensus failed, we would have alternate plans and some idea how to switch among them as more information becomes available. Would it handle "global warming" as well as could possibly be done if we were all robots who did whatever Central Control told us to? Probably not. It would be the best we could actually do.

But none of this happened. Was it that physical scientists did not trust the competence of social scientists? Was it that politicians did not want to fund social science? Was it that a group of amateurs chose a political stand which did not work? Yes to all three, I don't know which was more important but the funding was central.

Back to the original question, how would you imagine an AnCap society handling it?

quadibloc on January 01, 2011, 02:05:20 pm
Very often the beliefs that get enforced are moral beliefs anyway, which are outside the domain of truth. When you take a moral stand it's your stand, it isn't true or false.
If that's the case, why do people keep picking on Hitler about the Holocaust, if it's just a personal opinion, a matter of taste, whether or not rounding up millions of people for extermination because of their ancestry is "wrong"?

In order to be able to say that things like Negro slavery and the Holocaust were wrong, even though the governments in power under which they happened authorized them, one has to be able to say that right and wrong exist outside human control, and are matters of irrevocable fact. And, therefore, that when the United States Constitution made slavery legal, thus asserting that it was not wrong, that it did not violate people's rights, this was silly in the same way as the attempt by the Indiana State Legislature to fix an incorrect value of pi.

Natural rights, rather than being "nonsense upon stilts", are the very basis on which AnCap depends, since it is based on the idea that the initiation of force really is wrong.

Unless I'm mistaken, and this false assumption on the part is why I keep concluding that an AnCap society must automatically, by its very nature, take the ZAP to extreme and absurd heights which demonstrate why AnCap can't work - instead of applying common sense to it, and tolerating things like social pressures being operative, instead of viewing them as profoundly subversive to individual freedom.

J Thomas on January 01, 2011, 03:23:07 pm
Very often the beliefs that get enforced are moral beliefs anyway, which are outside the domain of truth. When you take a moral stand it's your stand, it isn't true or false.
If that's the case, why do people keep picking on Hitler about the Holocaust, if it's just a personal opinion, a matter of taste, whether or not rounding up millions of people for extermination because of their ancestry is "wrong"?

Because in their personal opinions it was very, very, very wrong.

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In order to be able to say that things like Negro slavery and the Holocaust were wrong, even though the governments in power under which they happened authorized them, one has to be able to say that right and wrong exist outside human control, and are matters of irrevocable fact.

No, one does not have to say that. It is enough for one (and many) to say "This is wrong and I will not put up with it. I will stand up and stop it." If you want to expand on that, you can say "In my opinion this is wrong and I will not put up with it. I will stop it or die trying.". The result is the same.

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And, therefore, that when the United States Constitution made slavery legal, thus asserting that it was not wrong, that it did not violate people's rights, this was silly in the same way as the attempt by the Indiana State Legislature to fix an incorrect value of pi.

It asserted that there was a consensus among Americans, when there was in fact no such consensus. They covered over the disagreement for a long time and finally killed over a million people when they couldn't cover it over any longer.

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Natural rights, rather than being "nonsense upon stilts", are the very basis on which AnCap depends, since it is based on the idea that the initiation of force really is wrong.

If a whole lot of people are ready to fight for other people's "natural rights" then whether or not natural rights have any reality, the people who will fight for them are a very definite reality.

If an AnCap society includes a whole lot of people who refuse to initiate force, that will have a big effect. If the society includes, say, 1% who do initiate force under circumstances that the other 99% think is wrong, and includes 99% who mind their own business and take no action when they see somebody they think is abusing you, not until it's their turn -- that will also have some effect. There are many different AnCap societies possible, and I don't know how to predict which of them will be attempted.

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Unless I'm mistaken, and this false assumption on the part is why I keep concluding that an AnCap society must automatically, by its very nature, take the ZAP to extreme and absurd heights which demonstrate why AnCap can't work - instead of applying common sense to it, and tolerating things like social pressures being operative, instead of viewing them as profoundly subversive to individual freedom.

Many different AnCap societies are possible. Some are probably not possible. A society which takes philosophical points to extreme and absurd lengths without any common sense or resolution of problems, is probably not going to work.

Plane on January 01, 2011, 04:21:59 pm
Does anyone present know how much CO2 is released in volcanic eruptions?


I don't know , but I would bet on it being an amount comprable to the co2 release of civilisation and a very fluctuating amount.


Does anyone here know how much the suns output varies year to year? I don't know this one either but I imagine that a relitively small percentage change in solar effect would swamp a large change in atmosphereic CO2.

There is a principal known as Homeostasis which is a systems quality of returning to its normal states when it gets knocked off center by something. Your body has homeostasis untill some disease overwhelms it, the earths biosphere has demonstrated homeostasis in the past , but do we know how strongly this effect is able to cope with adverse inputs to the system?

There are a lot of valid reasons to try to reduce pollution and there have been some good results of such efforts already, I don't think that Junk science needs to be used to further the cause of not fouling our own nest ,perfectly well understood science is persuaseive enough.

J Thomas on January 01, 2011, 05:20:01 pm
Does anyone present know how much CO2 is released in volcanic eruptions?

http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/index.php

USGS estimates it at maybe a couple hundred million tons a year. There could be rare events that release considerably more. However, volcanoes tend to release SO2 also which contributes more to global cooling than CO2 does to warming. The ratio of the two is quite variable.

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I don't know , but I would bet on it being an amount comprable to the co2 release of civilisation and a very fluctuating amount.

It does fluctuate, but the evidence so far indicates it's less than 1%.

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Does anyone here know how much the suns output varies year to year? I don't know this one either but I imagine that a relitively small percentage change in solar effect would swamp a large change in atmosphereic CO2.

In recent years it's been around 0.1%/year, with no obvious direction.

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There is a principal known as Homeostasis which is a systems quality of returning to its normal states when it gets knocked off center by something. Your body has homeostasis untill some disease overwhelms it, the earths biosphere has demonstrated homeostasis in the past , but do we know how strongly this effect is able to cope with adverse inputs to the system?

There are a lot of valid reasons to try to reduce pollution and there have been some good results of such efforts already, I don't think that Junk science needs to be used to further the cause of not fouling our own nest ,perfectly well understood science is persuaseive enough.

I think you have demonstrated the depth of your knowledge about the topic. Do you feel competent to decide which science is junk science?

Plane on January 01, 2011, 05:31:09 pm

I think you have demonstrated the depth of your knowledge about the topic. Do you feel competent to decide which science is junk science?


Yes , don't we all?


A period of few sunspots has just finished , and solar output is again ramping up to normal.
Is a change of 1% small?

The diffrence between snowball Earth and runaway greenhouse Earth (like Venus)might be smaller, how long have we been takeing this sample?

www.spaceweather.com

SandySandfort on January 01, 2011, 06:26:01 pm
A period of few sunspots has just finished , and solar output is again ramping up to normal.
Is a change of 1% small?

The diffrence between snowball Earth and runaway greenhouse Earth (like Venus)might be smaller, how long have we been takeing this sample?

www.spaceweather.com

http://www.dailytech.com/NASA+Study+Acknowledges+Solar+Cycle+Not+Man+Responsible+for+Past+Warming/article15310.htm

Plane on January 01, 2011, 06:45:52 pm
A period of few sunspots has just finished , and solar output is again ramping up to normal.
Is a change of 1% small?

The diffrence between snowball Earth and runaway greenhouse Earth (like Venus)might be smaller, how long have we been takeing this sample?

www.spaceweather.com

http://www.dailytech.com/NASA+Study+Acknowledges+Solar+Cycle+Not+Man+Responsible+for+Past+Warming/article15310.htm


That is a really good article , and the comment page is even better, thank you.

NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on January 01, 2011, 07:01:04 pm
I think you have demonstrated the depth of your knowledge about the topic. Do you feel competent to decide which science is junk science?

Determining "junk science" does not necessarily require any knowledge of the underlying subject matter, only an understanding of the scientific method.  That method requires creating an internally consistent model, mapping that to the physical universe to create a theory, and showing that changes made to the physical universe, mapped back into the theory accurately predict the results observed in the physical universe.

That has not been done.  The models created to date have been descriptive but not proscriptive.  The "global warming asserters -- many supposedly part of the professional scientific community -- when faced with this problem have simply changed the model (without then providing a demonstration that the theory accurately predicts the future changes in the physical universe), launched rhetorical attacks on the skeptics (claiming, for example, that they are all "deniers",  blocked access to the raw data and full methodology used in creating their theory, fudged the data to fit the model, and conspired to prevent publication of papers and studies that contradict their work.  

Many others, also considered part of the professional scientific community but outside the particular discipline of climatology have naively assumed that (a) the papers and studies that have been published are a fair sample of the work that has been done, and (b)  that the asserters considered part of the professional scientific community are dealing honestly and in good faith; as a result they have generally accepted this position as scientific consensus.  As stage magician and noted "junk science debunker" James Randi has observed, "scientists are very easily deceived. "

I am a skeptic regarding all aspects of possible climate change.  I find the questions regarding it open and unanswered.  I don't really "care" about what the truth may be, but instead am interested in finding that truth.   Given the lack of any solid theory with demonstrably accurate results (note that I use the word "accurate", not "precise" -- and do so deliberately), I remain skeptical.  I am particularly skeptical of the asserters in the associated with the IPCC, since their behavior has the hallmarks of True Believers -- with no tolerance for dissent or even for skepticism.

There are individuals in both the denier and asserter camps who are not dealing in good faith -- some of them, I strongly suspect, believe that they are, but are simply lying to themselves; others, I also strongly suspect, know of flaws in their position, but choose to not acknowledge them, out of a stronger motivation to be part of the group identity or out of a fear that their reputations may be damaged.  I say, "A pox upon both their houses -- deniers and asserters alike".  Let's all get back to the problem of discovering the truth rather than trying to force the truth (or at least the perception of the truth) into some preconceived mold.


jamesd on January 01, 2011, 07:26:10 pm
I don't think the world scientific community has suddenly put politics before science,

I see you have not been reading the climategate files.

Science went down the toilet when they politically corrected Darwin in 1970-1972, and science has been pretty much dead ever since, the sickness starting in human biology but spreading rapidly as everything in science becomes political.

Nothing sudden about it.  The rot set in 1940 when they deprecated the scientific method in favor of authority and consensus - the rot set in with peer review.  History, which had long been rotten to the core, was rewritten to write the struggle over the scientific method out of history.  Instead of Roger Bacon being put in solitary confinement on bread and water for advocating the scientific method, the new version of history had him in "a form of house arrest" for advocating astrology.   When the inquisition issued the condemnation of 219 theses in 1277, telling scientists what they were allowed to think, this was now in the new version of history the church sponsoring and encouraging science, by enlightening scientists with its wisdom.

In 1970-1972, biology was rewritten in support of affirmative action, and all scientists everywhere silently fell into line, prefiguring what more recently happened with climate science.

If you do a google book search for key phrases, you can find the exact dates on which the line changed on various topics.  These abrupt changes of line are usually quite obviously political, announced from on high, rather than justified by new evidence.  The changes are sudden, and accompanied by revision of the past.  Not only does science now suddenly think Y, the past is frequently adjusted, as in the 1972 rewrite of biology, so that science never thought X, it always thought Y.  These abrupt changes in what is supposedly scientific fact are often done very much in the style of Winston Smith's ministry of truth - global warming was far more scientific looking than many of them.


 

anything