Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

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NotAPhysicist
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby NotAPhysicist » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:02 pm

I'm still fascinated by the ability to conflate the whole "vaccines cause autism" thing with AGW.

The vaccine thing was a load of rubbish and has been roundly debunked by the scientific community and not without quite an expenditure of resources beyond those initially invested to demonstrate safety. I'm pretty suspicious of big-pharma as it were myself but, crikey, this was stomped hard. And still the theory persists. And here you are saying, that was right, go science, shame people still believe that crazy idea?

But AGW, no. All scientists (excepting a small minority) overwhelming backing AGW can't be true, they are all corrupt and perpetuating this. And this against a back drop of large organisations who have a vested interest minimising disruption to their bottom line or possibly their survival which actually doing something about carbon emissions would effect. Erm, okay... I mean heck, we could try and have a nuanced conversation based more around probabilities but that requires some acknowledgement that people aren't basically lying at every turn about everything which seems to be the counter position - I can see why people hunker down and resort to absolutes.

This is frankly odd.
Pick your conspiracy or your not a conspiracy and darn the evidence and certainly darn anyone who provides evidence you don't like.

charliem
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby charliem » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:34 pm

Yes, it is unfortunate that some science has been politicized these last decades, although I don't think we can blame that on the scientists.

My take on Occam's Razor is a bit different that pbelter's. In my opinion Einstein explained its essence quite well in this famous quote of his: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler". And I emphasize that "but no simpler".

I can't agree that "if something is very complex it is unlikely to be true", at least not as a general principle, because there are a lot of things (in and out of science) that are complex, and time and again are demonstrated to be true; quantum theory comes to mind, the mechanisms of biological evolution, the causes and mechanisms of cancer, ...

Some of these things are so complex that we haven't been able to make heads or tails of them yet ... but they are true, we know it.

To use a simile: It sounds Intuitively impossible that something as simple as the genetic code inside a single cell, can give rise to something as complex as a person. There is no way that you can compress so much info in such a little space. No way. Except, of course, that we are confronted every day with the reality that it can.

It's been proven time and again, intuition can be misleading, in fact in science it is often more hurdle than help.

Everyone talks according with his/her experience. In the past I've been so sure of certain things, only to later realize that I had been wrong that now the first person I tend to be suspicious of is myself.

In the end, I think it all comes down to trust. If we don't keep it in check, human's innate paranoid streak will make our lives more "interesting".

By the way, now that we've mentioned vaccines. Have you heard of the entenovirus D-68? It causes an illness in children that looks a lot like polio, and like polio it leaves life-long consequences, like paralysis ... for those who survive.

It is getting more common fast and there is no cure at present. I wonder what the anti-vac crowd is going to say about it. Are they going to state, according with their creed, that it is better for children to "pass it the natural way", that we should not develop a vaccine, or are they going to ask for the research?
"The problem is not what we don't know, but what we do know [that] isn't so" (Mark Twain)

pbelter
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby pbelter » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:27 pm

Let me clarify. If something is very complex to the point that additional theories must be invented to keep it afloat, then it is unlikely to be true.
In AGW additional theories are needed to explain why:

- the pole ice is melting while south pole is growing. CO2 is pretty much 400 ppm in both cases
- Mars has global weather fluctuations that seem to correlate with Earth.
- a CO2 in jar experiment shows no warming despite having several orders of magnitude more CO2 that the levels that are blamed for AGW
- it was cooling after WWi and CO2 production did not slow
- etc.

When you have to come up with additional theories to explain why observations don't match with the main theory then Ockham's razor says the main theory is not plausible.

I could not care less what the anti-vaccine crowd thinks. Since most vaccines are not 100% effective they do cause the diseases to spread to children that are not vaccinated causing a problem. For me is a very small problem because the vaccines are nearly 100% effective and my kids get vaccinated.
It may be a problem for them but it is not my concern what other people do with their lives.

The anti-vaccine movement is a small fallacy, nothing like AGW that want to put us under a heel of over-regulating government, excessive taxation stifling innovation and promoting harmful anti growth ideologies .
This does affects us all and has consequences for the entire human civilization. What is there are hostile aliens in outer space and we slowed our growth just on our eve of venturing out there?

Back in high school I was very intrigued by a historical question. Why there is so much intellectual creation and development in ancient Greece, but hardly any in the Byzantine Empire. Same language, same people, same area and if anything the Byzantines were more wealthy and had better tech. The main difference that there was a centralized government in the empire that could persecute ideas or initiatives it didn't like.

If you look at the wealth map in Italy you will see that the northern regions are much more wealthy then the south. This was not the case in the ancient times but changed in middle ages. The south was politically united first under Byzantines then on their own. It is 150 years since this has ended and the effects are still pronounced.

AGW is just another excuse for consolidation of central power, overregulations that restrict economic and by implication scientific growth. If we let them to get away with that the effect can be felt for centuries as well.

NotAPhysicist
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby NotAPhysicist » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:18 pm

I don't have time now to answer some of your earlier points, I'll try to do that tomorrow though I will note that most if not all of them were answered earlier in this thread. Broadly though I'd say that something being difficult to understand doesn't make that understanding render the overall picture wrong and picking specific data points to make it say what you want isn't reasonable.

However, we get to the crux of the matter..

AGW is just another excuse for consolidation of central power, overregulations that restrict economic and by implication scientific growth. If we let them to get away with that the effect can be felt for centuries as well.


In the end do you not want to believe AGW because you honestly believe that there is a massive global conspiracy to make up and misinterpret the data or is the real issue you don't like some of the potential solutions. Fine, I'm not a huge fan of government regulation, though I believe it has its place, but if that's what it takes to stop AGW or mitigate its effects fine. If there was a ferociously market driven solution would you instead be beating the AGW drum?

pbelter
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby pbelter » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:31 am

NotAPhysicist wrote:In the end do you not want to believe AGW because you honestly believe that there is a massive global conspiracy to make up and misinterpret the data
[/quote]


I see you are big fan of conspiracies, but I think you are preaching to the wrong audience.
AGW is a fallacy because it does not stand up to rigors of scientific method as I mentioned multiple times before with several examples even in my last post.

My argument is that it is so discredited that hardly anyone believes it today. I suspect that even Bill Gates who is putting up 1 billion of its own money to fight it is treating it as publicity stunt. One way to verify this prediction is to see if any of the money goes to serious research programs like fusion which could address the problem if one believed it really exists. My point is that likely no money will go to it and that is what started this thread.

My grandma lived in a small town where people used to raise cows for diary. Over time the diary became less profitable and people gradually abandoned the business but the still owned the land. The pastures were overgrowing over time as they weren't useful for anything else.
At the same time the government came in and proposed some kind of a big public project in the area.
People were falling over to promote the project and sell the land to the government, and thought the idea was great because it gave them someone who wanted to buy their useless land.

Do you really require "conspiracy theories" to explain that kind of behavior? I find it very reasonable that people want to promote ideas that improve their well being. Would you say it was a "massive conspiracy" to dump the useless land on unsuspecting government officials?

I find it very reasonable from the perspective of climate scientists to jump the the AGW bandwagon when it made their services were more in demand and much more prestigious. I find it very reasonable from the perspective of government regulator that they want to use it to increase their influence. I see no conspiracy here, jut a normal profit and power oriented bias. Same as with oil and coal companies who presumably want sell more oil and coal and sponsor research to the contrary.

The problem is that research must withstand scrutiny to be believed and we have Scientific Method to provide tools for such scrutiny.
Do you know that in Nazi Germany the departments of anthropology were producing "evidence" to support their racial extermination policies? Do you find it surprising? Or maybe it was a conspiracy? Would you call people who disagreed believers in a conspiracy?

Watch out for the trap intellectual trap where you believe something so strongly that all people who disagree must be crazy and must themselves believe in unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, or there could be no other explanation of their behavior.
Last edited by pbelter on Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

pbelter
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby pbelter » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:50 am

duplicate
Last edited by pbelter on Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

pbelter
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby pbelter » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:51 am

duplicate

charliem
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby charliem » Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:15 am

pbelter wrote:Watch out for the intellectual trap where you believe something so strongly that all people who disagree must be crazy ...

Can't you see that this phrase also applies to most of the "skeptics", even to yourself? Just change 'crazy' for 'dumb' (or, switch 'all people who disagree' for 'all scientists', and 'crazy' for 'dishonest').

It is not a question of being pro or anti anything, it is a question of how sure we are about our belief, but sadly, for the non knowledgeable crowd (most of us) there is little correlation between how sure we are, and how right we are.

... and must themselves believe in unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, or there could be no other explanation of their behavior.

I don't remember anyone in this thread saying that all who oppose the idea of AGW are conspiracy nuts. Straw man?

On the other hand, those who have expressed here an opinion about AGW being a scam, have explained it by saying that all the involved scientists (that is, almost every climatologist on Earth) are doing it because of pure self interest.

Making that broad assertion about a whole class of tens of thousands of people, from all nationalities, all social extractions, religions, backgrounds, and so on ..., working for so many different institutions, governments and companies, to me, that sounds very much like a conspiracy theory.

In my opinion this anti-AGW thing is probably just another instantiation of an old problem, that when trying to reason about something, the more passionate we get, the more we lose the capacity to think clearly (or the more it contradicts our world view, or the more "our tribe" accepts or rejects it, or the more we like or loathe the consequences, or the more we've previously defended our position in front of others, etc., ... see a pattern?).

Tell me how strong you feel about something, and I'll tell you how cloudy your reasoning is.

If we were really intelligent we would recognize that to think clearly we need to keep non emotional, and if we can't, it would be better not to chain ourselves to a [probably faulty] conclusion ... but that's the exact opposite of what we do.

Pity.

edited for clarity
Last edited by charliem on Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The problem is not what we don't know, but what we do know [that] isn't so" (Mark Twain)

choff
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby choff » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:18 am

I've seen at least 3 reports from the last two centuries of the northern ice cap melting away. If you look at the 1970's 'In Search Of' with Lenard Nemoy, it shows an open Arctic waterway progressively covering over with ice in a a southerly direction. All meant to scare us about the coming ice age, backed up by Inuit claiming they've never seen it so cold before. What the real evidence demonstrates is that the Arctic Ice cover is extremely volatile over periods lasting decades.
CHoff

NotAPhysicist
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby NotAPhysicist » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:12 am

Choff, as I wrote before, the Nimoy "The Ice Age is coming" thing was purely a bit of media misinterpretation.
There was no scientific consensus about a potential ice age and this wasn't a thing that was being actively pushed by the scientific community.
If anything evidence at the time was pointing the other way, though as yet that was still very much being investigated.

NotAPhysicist
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby NotAPhysicist » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:52 am

- the pole ice is melting while south pole is growing. CO2 is pretty much 400 ppm in both cases

As a previously pointed out this was something that had climate scientists curious, they do look you know...
Sea temperatures in the south pole are also increasing but the increase in ice is the result of the particular circulatory patterns in that region.
Presumably at some point the rise in sea temperature will become the dominant factor, I don't know about that though.
Still, this just shows the picture is complex, doesn't mean the underlying problem isn't there...

- Mars has global weather fluctuations that seem to correlate with Earth.

Which was roundly debunked, assuming you are talking about the trends we were talking about earlier. This was the result of comparing temperature measurements that were not reasonably comparable because of prevailing conditions related to dust storms.
Again, it isn't like people haven't looked at these things and wondered.

- a CO2 in jar experiment shows no warming despite having several orders of magnitude more CO2 that the levels that are blamed for AGW

Don't know anything about this one I'm afraid, can you provide some more information - I appear to have missed any links to further information.

- it was cooling after WWi and CO2 production did not slow

Can you be a bit more precise about what you mean there? I know there has been variation throughout the past century, with some periods cooler than others, not a continuous increase. There is however a strong and increasing upward trend. That is a bit different from a temporary cooling. So are you saying the strong upward trend isn't really there or are you picking a small part of the graph and saying "look it goes down here so it must be fine?". Now, theoretically that could be right, maybe we are just seeing a really statistically unlikely strong deviation from average temperatures. It's possible that's why the IPCC reports and so on try and ascribe probabilities - it just isn't very likely at this point.

Any other points you would like to bring up?

We still come down to suggesting though that huge numbers of people all over the planet from different cultures, governments, personal politics, scientific disciplines and so on all pointing the same way. They could all be wrong or lying but you need some fairly strong reasons for thinking that and I'm really not convinced you've got that here.
Heck, I was intrigued by the southern polar ice thing, that seems out of place, but at least I bothered to check why people thought that might be and if it was being looked at. Unless people are being deliberately dishonest then that has an explanation, the others too either definitely or most likely.

hanelyp
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby hanelyp » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:08 pm

pbelter wrote:Do you really require "conspiracy theories" to explain that kind of behavior? I find it very reasonable that people want to promote ideas that improve their well being. Would you say it was a "massive conspiracy" to dump the useless land on unsuspecting government officials?

I find it very reasonable from the perspective of climate scientists to jump the the AGW bandwagon when it made their services were more in demand and much more prestigious. I find it very reasonable from the perspective of government regulator that they want to use it to increase their influence. I see no conspiracy here, jut a normal profit and power oriented bias. ...

Indeed, not a Conspiracy Theory in the conventional sense, but an alignment of corrupting interests. Though I can see a Conspiracy developing out of CYA once the shared lie is exposed.
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.

NotAPhysicist
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby NotAPhysicist » Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:05 pm

- a CO2 in jar experiment shows no warming despite having several orders of magnitude more CO2 that the levels that are blamed for AGW


I'm still not certain to what you are refering specifically, however in googling I got to this which was related and interesting: http://earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/7502/is-there-any-experiment-to-prove-that-co2-with-the-atmosphere-concentration-can

This broadly talks about how CO2 can cause warming in the atmosphere and how this relates to water vapour. There is some comparison to long term historical levels and so on. It also provides a list of papers about measurements on CO2 light absorption and talks about the difficulties of capturing salient atmospheric features in small lab experiments.

pbelter
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby pbelter » Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:17 am

NotAPhysicist wrote:Which was roundly debunked...


The AGW church "debunks" everything that does not conform to the doctrine. It does not even shy from "Policy Based Evidence Making".
Sometimes they can be even right, but the more they have to "debunk" , by creating satellite theories to why the evidence does not match the predictions, the less plausible the main theory is. Simple application of Ockham's rule in the exercise of the Scientific Method.

There was a theory in 70s that mass does not cause gravity but space has repulsive properties that mass shields from.
So if you are standing on a surface of a planet the outer space pushes you down and the land below your feet shields you from the opposite effects on the other side.
It was never disproven but it just lacked evidence and it to not make any useful predictions so it was abandoned. Who knows, maybe it is even true and accounts for the expansion of the universe? Same story with the theory that continental drift is caused by Earth expanding.

There are number of theories like that, and that is a good thing since they stimulate pursuit of knowledge.

It becomes dangerous though when people want to use coercion to force their point of view in form of taxation or regulation. Coercion has the opposite effect, limiting intellectual freedom and ultimately slowing down technological progress.

hanelyp
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Re: Bill Gates is heading a $1 billion venture fund to combat climate change

Postby hanelyp » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:46 am

pbelter wrote:It becomes dangerous though when people want to use coercion to force their point of view in form of taxation or regulation. Coercion has the opposite effect, limiting intellectual freedom and ultimately slowing down technological progress.

Repeated for emphasis. We'd be content to let carbon climatists blather on about their nonsense, except that coercion is being solicited to support the movement, and the movement is being used to advance coercion.
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.


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