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Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming 
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Post Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
Michael Crichton’s fiction novel, “State of Fear”, is in opposition to Al Gore’s nonfiction book, “An Inconvenient Truth”, when it comes to global warming. Both authors use facts, graphs and tables to prove their sides of this argument. Al Gore being the politician that he is uses scientists, who feel man is responsible for global warming, to warn us that we are doomed unless we make changes in how we treat our environment. Michael Crichton uses scientists, who feel that global warming is a series of natural cycles, to show that we have always had both global warming and ice ages. Crichton is out to prove that the politicians, environmentalists, and the media are using scare tactics to persuade us to change our ways. While, Al Gore tries to convince us that he truly wants to save this planet by convincing us to alter the way we live. For those familiar with these men’s books (or Al Gore’s documentary) which one presents the most convincing argument?


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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
There goes my respect for Michael Crichton. I really enjoyed reading Prey. Crichton obviously has not got a fucking clue when it comes to the science of global warming. He should stick to science fiction.

I do not think that Al Gore came up with any answers about how we address global warming, since reducing emissions seems impossible. At least Gore took an evidence based approach to explaining the problem, while Crichton has been befuddled by liars.

Just on your comment that Crichton uses "facts, graphs and tables to prove" his side of this argument. Unfortunately that is not possible because Crichton is wrong. Even the plateau of record air temperature over the last decade is compatible with warming. There are numerous observations that are not compatible with non-warming, such as storm data and migration of plants and animals toward the poles.

The facts prove that pumping 30 gigatonnes of CO2 into the air every year is heading us for an earth-shattering kaboom, as Marvin famously said to Bugs.

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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
I'm always surprised at the hostility towards Crichton (who died in 2008) and who has argued, very persuasively I think, that we should be wary of any scientific claim that relies on scientific consensus. I also think he's absolutely right about relying on computer models which are based on limited data. Crichton's essay is definitely worth reading.

http://www.sepp.org/NewSEPP/GW-Aliens-Crichton.html

As for Gore, he's more of a do-as-I-say kind of person, not do-as-I-do. He argues that we should strive to reduce our carbon emissions, but he has been criticized for his own energy usage which is about 12 times higher than the normal U.S. household. And the average U.S. household uses much more energy than most other nations.

Image
source: http://www.aceee.org/files/proceedings/ ... s/8_24.pdf

Al Gore has raised public awareness for global warming, but he's proven to be a much better capitalist than an environmentalist. He's made millions in the Green Energy business (sustained largely through heavy government subsidies). Imagine how influential Gore could have been by being a model for simple living. Indeed, if the future of mankind depends on us being able to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions, Gore looks like a hypocrite. It seems imperative for Gore to lead the way, show us how it's done.

We'd be much better off looking at Henry David Thoreau whose model for simple living and reverence for nature is perhaps now the only path humans can now take to avoid collapse.

As Thoreau said, "Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry."

http://thoreau.eserver.org/walden02.html


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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
Geo's chart above is total national energy use, not per capita as readers might infer from the comment about household use.

The Thoreau hermit model has much to commend it, but cities are not Walden Pond. The world energy use trajectory is up. Economic growth means using more energy. Finding ways to sustain increased energy use will involve an increase in CO2 emissions, but that is fine as long as these emissions are recaptured and recycled.

What we need, and here Michael Crichton could have made a useful input - I had not heard he was dead - what we need is a way to mine carbon economically from air and sea. This is where algae is the great opportunity. Algae grown at large scale at sea using natural ocean and sun energy can produce abundant food, fuel, fertilizer and fabric. Everybody can be rich from the abundant production of algae at sea. The sea is more than twice as big as the land, and churning the sea is our saving source of new ongoing wealth for all.

My view is that a global algae-based world economy could sustain a peaceful human population of fifty billion people. I agree with Bjorn Lomborg - forget about emission reduction and focus on new technology.

In Rand's terms, Gore is a moocher. I don't really blame him for that since he has helped to alert people to the danger of global warming, but all his dirigiste state based socialist subsidy models are entirely corrupt and useless as a way of fixing the planet. What we need are real John Galts.


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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
The idea of 50 billion people living on our planet sounds nightmarish to me. Humans are destructive and wasteful by nature, and we occupy a large and expanding niche that has caused the extinction of countless animal and plant species. Some people believe that a mass extinction event already looms before us.

Even with limitless energy, we would still have to feed and clothe and provide shelter for 50 billion souls. There would be no natural world left. Our planet would be devoted to human habitat as if our primary goal is merely to breed and exist. 'Be fruitful and multiply' is an archaic and destructive mode of existence for humankind. For earth to accommodate such numbers can only at the expense of other life forms, and with major concessions to our quality of life.

Our current materialistic way of life is clearly unsustainable, but our mantra seems to be to literally live like there's no tomorrow. And you want there to be 50 billion of us? But why stop there, why not 100 billion or 200 billion?

We divorce ourselves from nature at our own peril. Diversity of life is essential to a thriving planet, not one habitrailed for humans only. I'm convinced that the answer is to return to a simpler life rooted in the natural world, and keep our numbers to reasonable and sustainable levels. To paraphrase Thoreau: simplify, simplify.


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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
Another important alternate source of energy is the use of methane gas from organic waste to produce energy. You might look at my thread on “Cow Poop for Energy” to see how dairy farms are using methane gas for their energy needs. This is also being done with landfills where the electricity produced is supplied to local utility companies. Let me close by quoting from my cow poop post; “Since methane gas has 20 times the potential than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, we must capture this gas instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.” Plus, we can use the captured methane gas to produce electricity. This is a win-win situation.


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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
I didn't read the Crichton novel, but his warning against relying on scientific consensus was compelling.

"Peace through algae" seems hopelessly naive. Remember the friendly atom of the 50s and 60s? That was another energy panacea, and we shouldn't be fooled into thinking that algae is the next one. The feasibility of algae as the energy equal of fossil fuels--or even better than that, to listen to Robert--hasn't been established, not by a long shot. Our energy future is going to be a patchwork of sources, according to the most knowledgeable people. Algae will be one in the mix.



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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
i'm glad to see some progress is being made

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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
Increased population would only work if we built floating cities and travelled around the world ocean and gave the land back to the wild animals and plants. Ocean based living based on an algae economy could be far more productive and sustainable than our current methods and is a way to stop mass extinction.

Jared Diamond's book The World Until Yesterday, our current selection, shows that destructive and wasteful habits have mainly been acquired in modern times and are not intrinsic to human nature. Traditional societies had low environmental impact for 99% of human history.

We are now shifting to a new global phase in human evolution. My view is that moving to the sea is the only way to sustain a global civilization with abundant material and cultural wealth.
geo wrote:
The idea of 50 billion people living on our planet sounds nightmarish to me. Humans are destructive and wasteful by nature, and we occupy a large and expanding niche that has caused the extinction of countless animal and plant species. Some people believe that a mass extinction event already looms before us.

Even with limitless energy, we would still have to feed and clothe and provide shelter for 50 billion souls. There would be no natural world left. Our planet would be devoted to human habitat as if our primary goal is merely to breed and exist. 'Be fruitful and multiply' is an archaic and destructive mode of existence for humankind. For earth to accommodate such numbers can only at the expense of other life forms, and with major concessions to our quality of life.

Our current materialistic way of life is clearly unsustainable, but our mantra seems to be to literally live like there's no tomorrow. And you want there to be 50 billion of us? But why stop there, why not 100 billion or 200 billion?

We divorce ourselves from nature at our own peril. Diversity of life is essential to a thriving planet, not one habitrailed for humans only. I'm convinced that the answer is to return to a simpler life rooted in the natural world, and keep our numbers to reasonable and sustainable levels. To paraphrase Thoreau: simplify, simplify.


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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
Robert Tulip wrote:
My view is that moving to the sea is the only way to sustain a global civilization with abundant material and cultural wealth.


that's exciting, i always loved that Hendrix tune "1983 a merman i should turn to be"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uBmCW9lZ_0

Hurrah, I awake from yesterday Alive, but the war is here to stay So my love, Catherina and me, decide to take our last walk through the noise to the sea Not to die but to reborn, away from lands so battered and torn Forever, forever
Oh say, can you see it's really such a mess Every inch of Earth is a fighting nest Giant pencil and lipstick tube shaped things, Continue to rain and cause screaming pain And the arctic stains from silver blue to bloody red as our feet find the sand, and the sea is straight ahead, straight up ahead
Well it's too bad that our friends, can't be with us today Well it's too bad, The machine, that we built, would never save us', that's what they say (That's why they ain't coming with us today) And they also said it's impossible for a man to live and breathe under water, forever, was their main complaint And they also threw this in my face, they said: Anyway, you know good and well it would be beyond the will of God, and the grace of the King (grace of the King) (Yeah, yeah)
So my darling and I make love in the sand, to salute the last moment ever on dry land Our machine, it has done its work, played its part well Without a scratch on our bodies and we bid it farewell Starfish and giant foams greet us with a smile Before our heads go under we take a last look at the killing noise Of the out of style, the out of style, out of style(oooh)...



Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:56 pm
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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
youkrst wrote:
to the sea Not to die but to be reborn, away from lands so battered and torn Forever, forever


Hi youkrst, thank you for the Hendrix song. I love Hendrix.




Here is an old song I like with the same theme of moving to the sea, Greyling: I am a man upon the land, a selchie in the sea, and when I'm far from every strand, my dwelling is in soul skerrie. I played it on recorder sitting next to Acharya under the tree of life in front of the pyramid at Chichen-Itza in Yucatan on the day of the December 2012 solstice.

I am writing a novel with the working title Forty Billion. It imagines our planet in a few hundred years when the human population has increased to forty billion, mainly living at sea, with abundant wealth for all based on churning nutrient up from the deep sea using wave and tide power to mine carbon for fuel, food, fertilizer and fabric. Here is my provisional start.

Who calls me Shimela Quilt? Shimela and the Carpenter were walking hand in glove along the high levee protecting Manhattan from the Hudson. Shimela's hypos were getting him down, and he felt a sea fever, an urge to go to the sea. I must go down to the sea, to the lonely sea and the sky.

The Carpenter spoke of many things, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide, past the floating island and between the whirlpool and the monster.

Shimela was ready to go back to sea, after time in the USA. From New York he travelled to Nantucket, the old whale port. He had heard a new Pequod was ready to journey to the South Pacific. Penelope had asked him to return to the algae city.

The Carpenter was there, his glittering eye, his floating hair. He told of an old story south, when leaving the north, the Sun came up upon the left, Out of the sea came he! and later arriving in the south, the Sun now rose upon the right: still hid in mist, and on the left Went down into the sea.


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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
Ahhh, wonderful stuff Robert, I'll be sure to read that baby when it's done,the intro there is gorgeous, I wish you well in the ongoing work.



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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
geo wrote:
I'm always surprised at the hostility towards Crichton (who died in 2008) and who has argued, very persuasively I think, that we should be wary of any scientific claim that relies on scientific consensus. I also think he's absolutely right about relying on computer models which are based on limited data. Crichton's essay is definitely worth reading.

http://www.sepp.org/NewSEPP/GW-Aliens-Crichton.html
I read Crichton's essay, and to be honest found it incredibly stupid. He argues science does not proceed by consensus. This is wrong. Science starts by considering all plausible ideas, and from these scientists agree on which ideas are persuasive, and then among these which are compelling. Compelling ideas form scientific consensus.

Past errors provide no guide to the science of climate change. The greenhouse impact of CO2 - letting light in and trapping heat - has been known to scientific consensus for two centuries. Add enough CO2, and a good dose of methane, and we have the recipe for an earth-shattering kaboom, so to speak. Crichton fails to consider the science. Global warming is a compelling consensus, although proposed strategies to deal with it do not have such evidentiary status. This is where I think advocates switch from rightly saying the science is settled to wrongly saying the needed response is equally settled.

Crichton partly redeems himself by his praise of the heretic Bjorn Lomborg, although the irony is that Crichton praises The Skeptical Environmentalist and wrote before Lomborg was converted to climate science by evidence and logic. Where I think Lomborg has a great point is that he argues, based on quantitative study, that emission reduction should be a far lower funding priority than research and development of transformative technology.

I personally would like to find anyone interested in research into large scale algae production at sea, but despite some good work by William Calvin and others, the field languishes, and its promise of sucking up more carbon than we emit remains ignored.
Geo wrote:

As for Gore, he's more of a do-as-I-say kind of person, not do-as-I-do. He argues that we should strive to reduce our carbon emissions, but he has been criticized for his own energy usage which is about 12 times higher than the normal U.S. household. And the average U.S. household uses much more energy than most other nations.

http://www.wordcentrist.net/household_energy.png
source: http://www.aceee.org/files/proceedings/ ... s/8_24.pdf
As I already noted before, this statement could give the wrong impression that US household use is many times that of Australia and other countries, whereas the fact is the graph shows total national use.

Al Gore has no moral obligation to live poor.
Geo wrote:
Al Gore has raised public awareness for global warming, but he's proven to be a much better capitalist than an environmentalist. He's made millions in the Green Energy business (sustained largely through heavy government subsidies). Imagine how influential Gore could have been by being a model for simple living. Indeed, if the future of mankind depends on us being able to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions, Gore looks like a hypocrite. It seems imperative for Gore to lead the way, show us how it's done.
Geo, I agree the Green Energy business has been corrupted. I would prefer to see research focussing on technologies that can be commercially competitive, which I think includes ocean based algae. Simple living is important but is a side issue for global warming. The key issue is investment in research and development of sustainable industries such as algae energy.
Geo wrote:
We'd be much better off looking at Henry David Thoreau whose model for simple living and reverence for nature is perhaps now the only path humans can now take to avoid collapse. As Thoreau said, "Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry." http://thoreau.eserver.org/walden02.html

I like Thoreau, especially his principles of reverence for nature. But becoming a monastic Anchorite is not for everyone.


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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
Quote:
I read Crichton's essay, and to be honest found it incredibly stupid. He argues science does not proceed by consensus. This is wrong. Science starts by considering all plausible ideas, and from these scientists agree on which ideas are persuasive, and then among these which are compelling. Compelling ideas form scientific consensus.

I think you missed the important distinction that claiming there is a consensus on a particular problem is not scientific proof. The fact that anyone can cite that X number of authorities have given the same basic answer isn't good practice, and the number of times in the past when consensus turned out to be demonstrably wrong should make us avoid such a justification. You, I believe, do not accept the consensus that Jesus was a historical figure, so are you being consistent?



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Post Re: Crichton vs. Gore on Global Warming
DWill wrote:
the number of times in the past when consensus turned out to be demonstrably wrong should make us avoid such a justification.


We also need to draw a distinction between consensus based on evidence and consensus based on ignorance. Crichton elides past this distinction which is crucial to understanding climate science.

In all the examples that Crichton gives, he explains how scientists fought against an ignorant consensus, for example on whether diseases were caused by germs or nutrition, and whether the continents drifted. When the topics were studied scientifically, a new solid consensus emerged based on observation of the evidence.

The same thing has happened with climate. As scientists have studied the evidence, they have found certainty on the scale of 'earth orbits sun' regarding anthropogenic drivers of climate change. CO2 causing global warming is as certain as night follows day. That is the scientific consensus. You cannot use an ignorant uninformed pre-scientific consensus to deny an informed coherent scientific consensus.
DWill wrote:
You, I believe, do not accept the consensus that Jesus was a historical figure, so are you being consistent?

The ignorant consensus on the historical existence of Jesus Christ comes out of a flat earth culture. Science has demolished flat-earthism and creationism, but Jesus historicism is the remaining false pillar of the Christian myth.

Just on the previous flat earth consensus, the 'chuckalefter' consensus doctrine promoted by church fathers such as Tertullian held that the sun could not on principle travel through hell, and therefore when the sun reached the horizon at dusk it chucked a left (made a left hand turn in our Australian colloquialism) and tracked along just below the southern horizon before chucking another left and rising again in the east at dawn.


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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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