Bringing it to the top with Dan -- Rethinking Dale's position

Posted by
bobbapink on Feb 06, 2002 at 20:16 (

What a well-expressed argument you make. Why do you do so far down in the forum where others are less likely to lurk. For that reason, I figured Iíd bring it up to the top. Hope you donít mind terribly. Perhaps we can engage others! The link to the original thread is here for any that are interested.

You, as usual, are in italics

Let me put this same issue forward again in a way that is not politically charge.

k by me

Replace global climatic change/global warming with being hit by an asteroid.

While I donít think the two have much in common, Iím willing to suspend disbelief for the sake of argument.

So far the threat is purely theoretical. And likely as not any incoming asteroid will land somewhere other than on your or my house.

I disagree with that assertion somewhat. I think it logical to assume that the odds of an asteroid hitting the earth at some future point in human history approaches 100%, as admittedly does a significant warming or cooling of the earthís atmosphere.

That said however, to equate the two one would have to postulate an anthromorphic (is that the right word? Iím sure it isnít the right spelling.) and quite tiny increase in the odds of the strike and expend vast resources reducing them, even with the hypothesis remaining wholly unproven, contrary to the evidence, and otherwise wholly unlikely to be true in addition to the expended resources not effecting the proposed risk reduction even were the risk actual. All that coupled with (and hereís the odd part) the evidence and logic that the theoretically unlikely strike would not only not harm civilization, but would likely greatly benefit it! That's why the comparison doesn't make sense. Still, for the sake of argument, Iíll consider furtherÖ

Should we invest resources in preparing to divert or destroy incoming space rocks? If so how much? If not why not? Once again we are talking a theoretical threat but with the possiblity of widespread catastrophic destruction if it happens. And once again the resources are from taxpayers.

If you have paid any attention to previous debates between Dale and me (and I have no reason to believe that you haveÖwhich is a good thing because I took something of a whooping!)
youíd know that I actually HAVE proposed such expenditures. More on that in a moment.

Based on your statements in this thread. I assume that you think no resources should be expended on preparing to stopping asteroids ... until such time as we find one on a collision course with earth (or perhaps with your neighborhood).

Not necessarily, but Iíll forewarn you that others more knowledgeable than myself in the physics of these matters might disagree. My actual position on this matter has matured somewhat (thanks to un-named others on this and other un-named forums) but hereís the gist of it:

We know an asteroid will eventually hit just as we know that warming or cooling will occur. I propose we expend modest resources in direct proportion to the actual risk, the odds of success and requisite technology and research required to effect a solution.

Investigating, for example, how we might prevent either from occurring, or at least, how we might reduce the impact.

But to do so requires an honest scientific endeavor as divorced as possible from politics. Much like particle research for example. Can you imagine the state of particle research if the discovery of the Higgs boson were discovered to be politically detrimental to one political party or nation while beneficial to another!? The state of affairs regarding atmospheric research and global warming is as much in bed with politics as is possible in this day and age. There simply is no truth that can be discerned from the matter. Itís impossible to tell where the politics start and the science stops. Those making logical and convincing arguments are not judged upon the merits thereof but are ridiculed and shunned by political fund-driven pseudo-science usually if it in anyway disagrees or is counter to the "convential" and "accepted" theory. I can provide several examples if you like. Itís more than a shame; itís a friggin crime, if youíll excuse my French.

Anyway, global warming is going to happenÖsomeday. I propose we investigate the real impact of it and how we might reasonably deal with it.

Likewise (and more likely sooner by my guesstament) global cooling is going to happen someday. I propose we investigate it just as thoroughly, if not more so.

Likewise, an asteroid is going to come our way someday. I propose we investigate ways to track these mammoths and attempt to divert their course.

What I donít propose is that we tank our entire way of life, our freedoms and our liberties, our standard of living and indeed our very posterity on the ultra slim chance that we can actually succeed in further mitigating a risk that is already so mitigated as to be practically non-existent anytime in the foreseeable future.

By the time global warming is a real threat, if it even is a threat (and I donít personally think that it is) then the technology necessary to deal with it will be readily available if, and only if, we start slow, stay persistent, advance economically, advance technologically, remain free and independent, and maintain the wealth necessary to defeat the problem should it actually arise.

Your turnÖpal.

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