BaalChatzaf

Some Solid Data on Climate and Temperature

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Do see:

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/temperature/temperature.html

You can take just about everything Baez writes to the bank.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Bob,

Thanks for posting this. My own (very amateur) science background is in geology, paleontology and related evolutionary theory. This article looks quite sound by my experiences and researches.

When one looks at global temperature variations in terms of the *long view* -- of thousands of years, hundreds of thousands, millions, and hundreds of millions of years – then one sees the complex story of radical climate changes that have occurred without human causes. We, humanity, are but a drop in the bucket in terms of global timescales, and climates have bounced all over the place before we even kindled our first fires.

-Ross Barlow.

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Bob,

Thanks for posting this. My own (very amateur) science background is in geology, paleontology and related evolutionary theory. This article looks quite sound by my experiences and researches.

When one looks at global temperature variations in terms of the *long view* -- of thousands of years, hundreds of thousands, millions, and hundreds of millions of years – then one sees the complex story of radical climate changes that have occurred without human causes. We, humanity, are but a drop in the bucket in terms of global timescales, and climates have bounced all over the place before we even kindled our first fires.

-Ross Barlow.

And you have to love a name like "John Baez." One letter away...

Bill P

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And you have to love a name like "John Baez." One letter away...

Bill P

John and Joan are distant cousins.

Here is an other unlikely story (but a true one): Olivia Newton-John, the singer and part time muse is the grand-daughter of physicist Max Born, who invented the probability interpretation of the quantum wave function. Hoodathunkit?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf

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I wonder if there is a reason to fear change as it were. Let's assume for a moment that the global temperature is indeed changing. What is it changing from? Why is the current set-point so vital?

We know that the current temperature is the result of mere probability of historical events on the planet. The temperature could have been anything anywhere at this time had events been different. In this sense, temperature is merely a fact of nature, like a rock, with no ethical meaning in-and-of-itself.

Temperature change may affect life. Surely it will. The question then becomes: what effect does this have on human life? If we assume humans can tolerate a 10-degree temperature shift (I have no problems going into a hot tub or skiing in snow), then it is unlikely there will be a direct effect.

Temperature changes might affect the ecosystem, which then affects human food sources, etc. This is probably the most ethical way to approach global warming issues. To make it ethical, it is necessary to show that humans are the cause of climate changes. Let us assume this is true. Then we still need to understand what the effects of climate change are historically on ecosystems. Does it cause a temporary collapse of the system, does it merely cause a shift with a couple bumps in the health of the ecosystem? I certainly have no idea myself. Then, and assuming we are valuing human life as a standard and not the ecosystem, can human industry compensate for distruptions in the ecosystem? Last I heard, we can grow chickens in half the time it used to take, and we humans can use corn for just about anything (I watched Food, Inc. recently). Seems like we have the industry to survive an ecosystem shift with bumps.

So that's a small bite of info that I can come up with. I do value the ecosystem as I value any life-system, and I would hate to see humans demolish a planetary ecosystem and all the beautiful creatures and plants within that system when such action could be prevented (even if humans survived rightly). I don't want shifts to what I consider natural beauty. That's personal. Still, I would like to know the facts about any shifts that might be occurring now. I'm not a radical for public policy, but ethical decisions are a bitch without good credible data. And the answer remains: no one really knows what's going to happen. So what course of action can we take? I believe the best is a conservative approach as we're doing now, with regulations against car pollution and industrial pollution when technology offers such easy means of managing waste. Sustainability is key. Sustainability, sustainability, sustainability. But please, no crap like cap and trade.

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Temperature changes might affect the ecosystem, which then affects human food sources, etc. This is probably the most ethical way to approach global warming issues. To make it ethical, it is necessary to show that humans are the cause of climate changes. Let us assume this is true. Then we still need to understand what the effects of climate change are historically on ecosystems. Does it cause a temporary collapse of the system, does it merely cause a shift with a couple bumps in the health of the ecosystem? I certainly have no idea myself. Then, and assuming we are valuing human life as a standard and not the ecosystem, can human industry compensate for distruptions in the ecosystem? Last I heard, we can grow chickens in half the time it used to take, and we humans can use corn for just about anything (I watched Food, Inc. recently). Seems like we have the industry to survive an ecosystem shift with bumps.

I think generally speaking that lifeforms have difficulty adapting to rapidly changing conditions. I think the evidence shows that major extinctions have resulted from drastic climate change and this is what many scientists are worried about. Of course this is true whether or not the change is due to mankind's activities. Humans may survive but certainly there would be a massive reduction in global population if we entered another ice age rapidly, for example. Of course our abililty to survive as a species will depend on our ability to cooperate with one another and, in this regard, I'm afraid mankind still has a long way to go. :(

BTW, you watched Food, Inc. and were you not disgusted about how they raised these animals that we supposed to eat? Do you think it is wise to raise animals in such a way that they need antibiotics to control disease? Are you not concerned about ingesting antibiotics on a regular basis? Just wondering? :)

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BTW, you watched Food, Inc. and were you not disgusted about how they raised these animals that we supposed to eat? Do you think it is wise to raise animals in such a way that they need antibiotics to control disease? Are you not concerned about ingesting antibiotics on a regular basis? Just wondering? :)

I appreciate that food raised under natural conditions such as free-range ranches are potentially more healthy and implement a less-disgusting process. On the flip side, I understand that massive and inexpensive economy of food may require these large processing-plant facilities.

I tried to compare why we use processing plants instead of simple ranches, and I think the main fact is that the ranch in Food, Inc. was run by a skilled rancher, whereas processing plants can use cheap unskilled labor. I began to wonder whether processing plants thus facilitate the creation of unskilled laborers, or whether processing plants helped to make productive a part of society that would otherwise remain unproductive. I believe it's the latter.

Overall, a dual-economy I think is best: let us have the option to purchase mass-produced food at lower prices or sensitively-produed food at higher prices. Food, Inc. is good in that it helps us as consumers understand the nature of our purchases, and I accept that if I want to buy cheap food, this is what I'm getting. I know the facts and the choice is mine. Personally, I am committed to a combination (since I buy mostly organic fruits/vegis but I'm happy with inexpensive meats). :)

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And you have to love a name like "John Baez." One letter away...

Bill P

John and Joan are distant cousins.

Here is an other unlikely story (but a true one): Olivia Newton-John, the singer and part time muse is the grand-daughter of physicist Max Born, who invented the probability interpretation of the quantum wave function. Hoodathunkit?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Puts a whole new spin on "wanna get physical...," don't you think?

Bill P

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I appreciate that food raised under natural conditions such as free-range ranches are potentially more healthy and implement a less-disgusting process. On the flip side, I understand that massive and inexpensive economy of food may require these large processing-plant facilities.

I tried to compare why we use processing plants instead of simple ranches, and I think the main fact is that the ranch in Food, Inc. was run by a skilled rancher, whereas processing plants can use cheap unskilled labor. I began to wonder whether processing plants thus facilitate the creation of unskilled laborers, or whether processing plants helped to make productive a part of society that would otherwise remain unproductive. I believe it's the latter.

Overall, a dual-economy I think is best: let us have the option to purchase mass-produced food at lower prices or sensitively-produed food at higher prices. Food, Inc. is good in that it helps us as consumers understand the nature of our purchases, and I accept that if I want to buy cheap food, this is what I'm getting. I know the facts and the choice is mine. Personally, I am committed to a combination (since I buy mostly organic fruits/vegis but I'm happy with inexpensive meats). :)

But what about the potential for developing 'superbugs', bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics? This has happened already because of over prescribing to humans. So it is not merely a question of economics it is a matter of public health. What happens when one day you need antibiotics and they don't work because of the way we raise livestock. Aren't these farmers and food producers potentially ignoring your rights to have medicine work when you need it?

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I appreciate that food raised under natural conditions such as free-range ranches are potentially more healthy and implement a less-disgusting process. On the flip side, I understand that massive and inexpensive economy of food may require these large processing-plant facilities.

I tried to compare why we use processing plants instead of simple ranches, and I think the main fact is that the ranch in Food, Inc. was run by a skilled rancher, whereas processing plants can use cheap unskilled labor. I began to wonder whether processing plants thus facilitate the creation of unskilled laborers, or whether processing plants helped to make productive a part of society that would otherwise remain unproductive. I believe it's the latter.

Overall, a dual-economy I think is best: let us have the option to purchase mass-produced food at lower prices or sensitively-produed food at higher prices. Food, Inc. is good in that it helps us as consumers understand the nature of our purchases, and I accept that if I want to buy cheap food, this is what I'm getting. I know the facts and the choice is mine. Personally, I am committed to a combination (since I buy mostly organic fruits/vegis but I'm happy with inexpensive meats). :)

But what about the potential for developing 'superbugs', bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics? This has happened already because of over prescribing to humans. So it is not merely a question of economics it is a matter of public health. What happens when one day you need antibiotics and they don't work because of the way we raise livestock. Aren't these farmers and food producers potentially ignoring your rights to have medicine work when you need it?

Culling the gene pool has a lot of benefits.

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But what about the potential for developing 'superbugs', bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics? This has happened already because of over prescribing to humans. So it is not merely a question of economics it is a matter of public health. What happens when one day you need antibiotics and they don't work because of the way we raise livestock. Aren't these farmers and food producers potentially ignoring your rights to have medicine work when you need it?

GS -

When did you (or I) acquire "rights to have medicine work when [you or I] need it?"

Who has the obligation to do the research to develop such medicines, to produce them and to make them available to me?

I don't recognize any such rights or obligations... What is your view of the basis for them?

Are these rights rooted in the same place from where some pretend to find the right to housing, the right to education, the right to a good wage, etc...?

Bill P

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But what about the potential for developing 'superbugs', bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics? This has happened already because of over prescribing to humans. So it is not merely a question of economics it is a matter of public health. What happens when one day you need antibiotics and they don't work because of the way we raise livestock. Aren't these farmers and food producers potentially ignoring your rights to have medicine work when you need it?

GS -

When did you (or I) acquire "rights to have medicine work when [you or I] need it?"

Who has the obligation to do the research to develop such medicines, to produce them and to make them available to me?

I don't recognize any such rights or obligations... What is your view of the basis for them?

Are these rights rooted in the same place from where some pretend to find the right to housing, the right to education, the right to a good wage, etc...?

Bill P

It's a sticky issue, but at the same time we don't want to dismiss off-hand the sociological concern GS brings up. It may not be ethical to propose public policies against widespread antibiotic use; but if true, it would be a personal responsibility of each citizen to weigh the accurate costs and benefits of such usage and the potential risks involved.

As concerning the point directly, I don't think superbugs are going to develop in chickens, so they would have to develop in people who eat the chickens and ingest the antibiotics. I don't know much about quantity of antibiotics ingested through meats, nor whether that amount is sufficient and distributed in such a manner as to result in superbugs. Aren't chickens and milk and a whole bunch of other products absent of antibiotics these days?

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But what about the potential for developing 'superbugs', bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics? This has happened already because of over prescribing to humans. So it is not merely a question of economics it is a matter of public health. What happens when one day you need antibiotics and they don't work because of the way we raise livestock. Aren't these farmers and food producers potentially ignoring your rights to have medicine work when you need it?

GS -

When did you (or I) acquire "rights to have medicine work when [you or I] need it?"

Who has the obligation to do the research to develop such medicines, to produce them and to make them available to me?

I don't recognize any such rights or obligations... What is your view of the basis for them?

Are these rights rooted in the same place from where some pretend to find the right to housing, the right to education, the right to a good wage, etc...?

Bill P

It's a sticky issue, but at the same time we don't want to dismiss off-hand the sociological concern GS brings up. It may not be ethical to propose public policies against widespread antibiotic use; but if true, it would be a personal responsibility of each citizen to weigh the accurate costs and benefits of such usage and the potential risks involved.

As concerning the point directly, I don't think superbugs are going to develop in chickens, so they would have to develop in people who eat the chickens and ingest the antibiotics. I don't know much about quantity of antibiotics ingested through meats, nor whether that amount is sufficient and distributed in such a manner as to result in superbugs. Aren't chickens and milk and a whole bunch of other products absent of antibiotics these days?

Christopher -

I see it as far more than a "sticky issue" if GS or anyone is going to attempt to impose obligations on some parties to develop and produce drugs, to make them available to a particular person, etc...

What is the basis of the obligation?

Why does the obligation rest on Party A, and not on every person (including the one who wants the drugs)?

Are we going to have to deal with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? (See http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/)

If "rights" and "obligations" are free-floating abstractions and not grounded in anything real, anything's up for grabs.

Bill P

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Hey Bill,

Again I want to separate the issues of public policy and individual responsibility. Even if an individual is not obligated to perform an action, that does not mean that it is ethical for the individual to condone the action. In the matter of antibiotic drugs, there may be no basis for lawfully limiting the use of antibiotics in a community, but there is the individual responsibility of community members to understand and weigh behaviors that may result in future consequences.

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Hey Bill,

Again I want to separate the issues of public policy and individual responsibility. Even if an individual is not obligated to perform an action, that does not mean that it is ethical for the individual to condone the action. In the matter of antibiotic drugs, there may be no basis for lawfully limiting the use of antibiotics in a community, but there is the individual responsibility of community members to understand and weigh behaviors that may result in future consequences.

It might be helpful to separate.

The post I responded to suggested

But what about the potential for developing 'superbugs', bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics? This has happened already because of over prescribing to humans. So it is not merely a question of economics it is a matter of public health. What happens when one day you need antibiotics and they don't work because of the way we raise livestock. Aren't these farmers and food producers potentially ignoring your rights to have medicine work when you need it?

Perhaps what you are saying is that you agree with me on my objections to that, but want to raise the issue of whether an individual would be behaving more ethically if they didn't

i) eat animals raised in this fashion

ii) take only part of the dose of an antibiotic (known for tending to result in more resistant strains)

If this is so, I agree that you are raising a different question. But NOBODY has a right which obligates some company somewhere to do research to develop drugs which will have a certain desired efficacy.

Bill P

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It's very simple. If the activities of individuals trying to make a living (farmers pumping the livestock full of antibiotics) create a threat to someone else's health and well being are their rights not being infringed upon? This is very similar to pollution. If a factory contaminates the water table then are they not infringing on the rights of everyone using that water?

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It's very simple. If the activities of individuals trying to make a living (farmers pumping the livestock full of antibiotics) create a threat to someone else's health and well being are their rights not being infringed upon? This is very similar to pollution. If a factory contaminates the water table then are they not infringing on the rights of everyone using that water?

I disagree that it is so simple - based on observing all the argumentation on the subject.

I would cheerfully apply the test - by saying that if someone's health or property is damaged by the actions of another, then they should sue the other person. No special new laws required to make that possible. If someone damages my property, I can sue them. If they hurt my health, I can sue them.

Often, however, advocates use the line of argumentation I quote above and then attempt to take "damages" which aren't even verified . . . that is, when the causal relationship between what the other is doing and the person's health or property is NOT DEMONSTRABLE, and nonetheless find illusory damages.

Bill P

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I would cheerfully apply the test - by saying that if someone's health or property is damaged by the actions of another, then they should sue the other person. No special new laws required to make that possible. If someone damages my property, I can sue them. If they hurt my health, I can sue them.

So you think taking legal action is the solution to these kind of problems? Do you have any idea how much it costs to take a corporation to court? Is this the Objectivist solution - to put the onus on the individual to try and fight for his rights against giant corporations and/or governments in the courts? I don't see much future in that, except for lawyers that is.

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I would cheerfully apply the test - by saying that if someone's health or property is damaged by the actions of another, then they should sue the other person. No special new laws required to make that possible. If someone damages my property, I can sue them. If they hurt my health, I can sue them.

So you think taking legal action is the solution to these kind of problems? Do you have any idea how much it costs to take a corporation to court? Is this the Objectivist solution - to put the onus on the individual to try and fight for his rights against giant corporations and/or governments in the courts? I don't see much future in that, except for lawyers that is.

GS:

"Do you have any idea how much it costs to take a corporation to court?" Yes I do.

Do you have any idea how much it costs to take the possible pre-emptive action you are proposing?

I would cite the now infamous Rachel Carson, Silent Spring argument, which, based on your general governing principle, was justified in banning DDT from the environment.

Since that time, tens of millions of individuals world wide have died from malaria which had been virtually eradicated worldwide by DDT. This was the unintended consequence of banning DDT.

Adam

warning against balancing tests being used to make public policy

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I would cheerfully apply the test - by saying that if someone's health or property is damaged by the actions of another, then they should sue the other person. No special new laws required to make that possible. If someone damages my property, I can sue them. If they hurt my health, I can sue them.

So you think taking legal action is the solution to these kind of problems? Do you have any idea how much it costs to take a corporation to court? Is this the Objectivist solution - to put the onus on the individual to try and fight for his rights against giant corporations and/or governments in the courts? I don't see much future in that, except for lawyers that is.

If you reject LEGAL ACTION as the solution, what do you suggest? Governmental bureaucrats making arbitrary regulations on what is and isn't permitted, etc...?

Think about it carefully.

Bill P

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I would cheerfully apply the test - by saying that if someone's health or property is damaged by the actions of another, then they should sue the other person. No special new laws required to make that possible. If someone damages my property, I can sue them. If they hurt my health, I can sue them.

So you think taking legal action is the solution to these kind of problems? Do you have any idea how much it costs to take a corporation to court? Is this the Objectivist solution - to put the onus on the individual to try and fight for his rights against giant corporations and/or governments in the courts? I don't see much future in that, except for lawyers that is.

GS:

"Do you have any idea how much it costs to take a corporation to court?" Yes I do.

Do you have any idea how much it costs to take the possible pre-emptive action you are proposing?

I would cite the now infamous Rachel Carson, Silent Spring argument, which, based on your general governing principle, was justified in banning DDT from the environment.

Since that time, tens of millions of individuals world wide have died from malaria which had been virtually eradicated worldwide by DDT. This was the unintended consequence of banning DDT.

Adam

warning against balancing tests being used to make public policy

Excellent example, Adam. Beaureaucratic tyrants want to take on themselves the ability to decide all for us. No basis in rights for this. And the consequences are always much worse.

Bill P

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GS:

"Do you have any idea how much it costs to take a corporation to court?" Yes I do.

Do you have any idea how much it costs to take the possible pre-emptive action you are proposing?

I would cite the now infamous Rachel Carson, Silent Spring argument, which, based on your general governing principle, was justified in banning DDT from the environment.

Since that time, tens of millions of individuals world wide have died from malaria which had been virtually eradicated worldwide by DDT. This was the unintended consequence of banning DDT.

Adam

warning against balancing tests being used to make public policy

The DDT-malaria issue is another matter. As a general rule of thumb, that when you raise monocultures of any living thing, crops or livestock, in great densities, you are asking for trouble. This is simply because once a pathogen gets into the population it is very easy to spread from one host to another. This method of agriculture leads directly to high use of pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, etc., all of which raise concerns for the ecosystem. You may argue that these farming methods produce much more food for much less money but I ask you, what if you include the cost of repairing the environment in these calculations? The ambient level of toxins in our environment is rising all the time - everything from left over medicine being flushed down the toilet to air pollution, mercury, plastics, VOCs, PCBs etc. This puts a constant strain on our immune systems and so effects our health in general. We are poisoning ourselves slowly but surely. If this is the only way we have to feed our populations then we need to reduce the populations. You are the one who just said "Culling the gene pool has a lot of benefits." :)

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If you reject LEGAL ACTION as the solution, what do you suggest? Governmental bureaucrats making arbitrary regulations on what is and isn't permitted, etc...?

Think about it carefully.

Bill P

Unless there were drastic changes in the legal system then yes, I would choose government intervention. There are lots of idiots in the government but there are also lots of competent people. You prefer to paint them all with same brush, that's your problem.

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If you reject LEGAL ACTION as the solution, what do you suggest? Governmental bureaucrats making arbitrary regulations on what is and isn't permitted, etc...?

Think about it carefully.

Bill P

Unless there were drastic changes in the legal system then yes, I would choose government intervention. There are lots of idiots in the government but there are also lots of competent people. You prefer to paint them all with same brush, that's your problem.

I have seen the results of government having this power. Those results are terrible. And there is that matter of rights to address, still.

Bill P

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