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Comment: Re:Reconciling faith with science (Score 2) 305 305

There's often confusion between science (testable observations) and science (reasoning, thinking, rationality).

They overlap in a very specific way: reason is the capacity to think about thinking. Ie. I have a thought, "the Gods like me" and then rather that just start behaving like the Gods like me, I actually then have another thought, "wait, how do I know the Gods like me, what am I basing that thought on?"

Most people gain the ability to think about thinking in their early teens. Until then, we just parrot what we're told.

Now, this enquiry, "how do I know if this is really true?" is the basis of science. Science is technically called a "3rd person perspective", ie. it is objective. It comes from like, 13th century or something, where who armies were about to charge each other on the battle field, both of them yelling "GOD IS ON OUR SIDE!!!" and a clever guy standing on a hill watching, said to himself, "well, they can't both be right". He was literally the 3rd person there, as the first two could not stand objectively and see the scene. He realised, they can't both be right, so at least one side is deluding themselves, is mistaken, yet they appear completely convinced. So how do I know if I ma right? I can't just rely on feeling certain of my view. It has to be..... TESTED!

That's science and reason. The ability to know that we can fool ourselves, so we need a way to TEST.

Ironically, climate change is one of those things where they say, oh we can't wait until it is really testable, we have to act, which you know, is a problem. It is such a problem that people resort to calling others immoral denialists, for pointing to it. And ironic that the Pope weighs in on it, too.

But if you read many of those paragraphs in the Pope's thing, you'll see that he is only using it to promote Christian values, like self sacrifice, helping the poor, etc. And he's very against postmodern values, where people try to think about alternatives. It would be nice if he said, please build some nuclear power stations, or improve the efficiency of cars, but no, he's all like, stop being selfish you sinners! Stop being materialistic! Stop being greedy!

And frankly, I'm of the opinion that climate change has been tuned in to a polarised, good guys v bad guys, "science" v "denialists", that it is no wonder that the Pope can come in and say, see I told you, you must respect the ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY OF GOD!

It is just a symptom of ecology having been dumbed down to such an extent that it has become religious an polarised.

The actual calculations and reasoning you have to make just to figure out the carbon footprint of an espresso are complex, full of assumptions, and difficult. Ecology is NOT a simple subject. The climate is NOT a simple subject. Should you build a coal station, to raise living standards faster, improve healthcare, and thus reduce child birth rates, or should you be "sustainable" and limit energy availability, so development takes longer, and people maybe continue with high birth rates for longer? That's just an example.

But no, denialists! And now with the Pope's blessing, evil selfish god-denying denialists!

But back to your point, someone would have to sit down with Hitler, and rationally explain to him Human Rights, and that he has no basis for thinking that his race was superior to other races, or if he does cite evidence, you critically examine it, and even then, ask, so what's the moral reasoning for him thinking that his place is to dominate others rather than help others? Most of this stuff can be reasoned out and doesn't require Gods.

And we actually know form developmental psychology that humans go through several stages of ethical and reasoning ability, so we know that what appears to be completely self evident to Hitler, is not reasonable to other people who have a higher and more reasonable capacity. It goes back to that ability to think about thinking, which is the start of being able to take the perspective of other people, and that's the basis of asking, would you like it if they did that to you? and that's the start of the Golden Rule. But you need the cognitive ability to do that.

And we also know that what the Pope cites as ethics, believing in a complete authority of God, is also an earlier moral thinking outlook. Many people grow out of it. And become better at making ethical decisions. Which is why the Church gets ridiculed for its silly and simplistic "no condoms" thing.

Comment: Re:Icehouse Earth (Score 1) 637 637

The point is that, if you assume you can model and predict the climate, and point to CO2, as a driver, like clockwork, then you may entirely miss the graver, more serious, more catastrophic, more disastrous scenario where climate goes and changes more drastically, more quickly, and entirely of its own accord. Would you feel better in the famines if people say, oh well, you know, we were modelling for man made CO2, but we completely missed this other thing, because we were so trying to get people to act on the man made problem, that we overstated our confidence and ignored the possibility that, the climate would shift more extremely, all on its own. Will that feel better? Or will you say, but wait, people knew the climate made extreme shifts in the past, so why did you overlook that? Why not plan for a sudden extreme shift, as that is the biggest threat? And I think there you'll find that people tend to have this notion that the climate and humanity can be managed into a less-consumerist, less greedy and more sustainable economy, and that's what they are interested in, and why not, fair trade sounds good, reduction in nationalism and borders sounds good, but don't let that deny the bigger threat that climate can and will suddenly change on its own. And what are you going to do, in terms of support for policies and technologies, to provide humanity with backup systems? Build more wind farms? I think not.

Comment: Re:Let me answer this question: (Score 1) 176 176

If Jesus was real and really did say stuff like, "turn the other cheek", then yes he was an individual who was teaching others to start to find their own personal freedom, literally a higher state of intelligence, a more humanistic and identity-less intelligence. Ie. more like what the Buddha is supposed to have been.

But later, with the various Christian sects, it became political, and the Roman Empire got involved, and basically it was turned into a political empire movement. And the kinds of people who want to belong to a giant massive organism because it has power and survival mechanisms, they flock to such "religions" (which are really empires), so they are about power, and yeah they'll go on wars of conquest, as did Moslems and as did Christians. The Ottoman Empire didn't just grow out of smiles and roses. Likewise for all empires of the world.

Arguably, Jesus did something quite clever, he inserted an idea of personal freedom into the monotheistic Judaic line of culture, and he was killed for that, but it was too late, he'd introduced the idea, and some do argue that that idea did influence Western development, and in the end, some individuals felt enough of a sense of personal freedom that they started the Western Enlightenment.

Comment: Re:Let me answer this question: (Score 1) 176 176

Thanks, I'll read that. Then I'll try to summarise both positions in my head, understand what they are each saying, and then try to figure out which one makes more sense to me. Taleb may be talking more about technicalities, and Pinker may have had to rely more on anecdotes about people's attitudes. It really might mean something that the laws in Britain chose to forbid "cruel and unusual punishments" — what was it that they were doing that was "cruel" and "unusual"? Why do we think that lashing people is barbaric today? So I wouldn't jump to the "debunked" claim, until I understand what Taleb's criticism is actually about. Also, a curious thing about Taleb, I think he claimed somewhere that Lebanon had been a wonderfully stable and diverse and rich society for centuries, so its collapse was a complete shock, whereas, the fall of the Ottoman Empire basically destroyed the foundations of the whole region, so why would its collapse be such a surprise? Sometimes I wonder that Taleb thinks that every other nation should fear collapse and is fooling itself about stability. But then the UK has had the Magna Carta for 800 years, which means that for 800 years it has been gradually building post-authoritarian institutions... so the use of stats is wonderful and all, but I often wonder what Taleb misses in his technical critiques.

Comment: Re:Let me answer this question: (Score 5, Interesting) 176 176

And however you doll up humanity today, it is merely an illusion that anything has changed since then.

Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature makes a case that, however bad things look today, the past was much much more violent. Actually his book tries to ask why things have improved so much. Part of our modern feeling that today is terrible, is because we are more sensitive and more empathetic than we've ever been before, so we notice stuff more than we used to. Of course, caveats, not all the planet is living in the 21st Century today, but there is a trend. And we hope it continues. So yes, we are still pretty crappy as humans, but let's not start believing that we are irredeemable—we have made a lot of progress and that means we can make more progress in universal empathy and care and compassion.

Comment: Re: Difference between Warmists and Rapturists (Score 1) 639 639

They are called the Institute of Forecasters. They study all kinds of models, look at which ones worked and which ones didn't, and whether the ones that did have anything in common, and the ones that didn't have anything in common, to get the principles of what approaches are known to lead to successful models. Feel free to google them.

Comment: Re: Difference between Warmists and Rapturists (Score 1) 639 639

Naturally, a lot depends on who you judge to be competent and in the field. Years ago another field, specialists in forecasting, said that if you look at the things which end up making for good forecasts and models, and you take those things and compare them to what climatology is doing, none of the climatology stuff works. They don't use methods which empirically, from experience, are known to lead to good models. But whose field is it anyway? Of course it is tempting to say, HA! forecasters, what the f*** do they know... but there is a field which studies the methods of forecasting... and so do you listen to that field, or not?

Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 2) 256 256

It is weird, you know, if this was about specifying some IT gadget, people would be all over the hard numbers and data and adding stuff up.

But as soon as it gets onto energy and climate, it becomes this, oh, we can just consume less, and keep building green energy, and it'll all work out.

It'll be fun when you're getting up in the middle of the night to bathe and shower the family, because that's when the hot water is affordable.

People who talk like this have never, I would guess, lived in a 3rd world country.

Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 1) 256 256

"good motivator"

No, that is a bad motivator. It is like, the slave owner motivating the slave with a beating. Yeah, we are all "motivated" to survive.

Making life harder for people is not "good" motivation, that's just called "survival".

Hey, if you make the electricity even more expensive, maybe the women will be "motivated" to going back to spending all day washing the clothes by hand.
You're welcome to try doing that yourself.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin

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