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The Carbon Flame War
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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: light no heat. on 11/12/2010 10:15:30 MST Print View

And of course anyone who is not a scientist is not qualified to participate! We don't know anything!

From the basic gist of this whole thread the only two people who are supposedly qualified to comment on the entire gristle are scientists and businessmen

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The only qualification is the ability to think rationally.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: light no heat. on 11/12/2010 10:21:42 MST Print View

I think you raise a larger question (at least in my mind) here Rog:
Can we reasonably expect science to remain separate from the influence of political and corporate/financial agendas, regardless of which way the wind is currently blowing?

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Quote from Malini Kochhar:

But the key question that is rarely brought up is whether the funding of scientific research is a necessary function of the government. Science is so much the result of innovative ideas and collaboration between individuals that the government’s appropriate role is rather limited. The government’s only job is to fulfill its proper and legitimate functions—protecting individual rights and maximizing individual freedom—and it must do no more than that. The government’s function is therefore to act against those who use physical force and endanger the peaceful affairs of others. In accordance with this principle, the only area of scientific research that clearly lies within the proper sphere of governmental activity is research for national defense. Therefore it must conduct its own research in military R&D.

However, this does not extend to the funding of scientific research in unrelated areas to which a great deal of federal money is presently devoted. Not only does the government overstep its boundaries by doing this, it violates the very freedom it is supposed to protect. It does this by denying people the right to use their money in whatever manner they desire and forcing them to use it according to the government’s evaluation of national interest or public benefit. The bottom line is that taxes are the source of all government funds—including those it spends on financing scientific research. The government has no moral right to take this money, which is the property of individual taxpayers, and use it in any way except for the direct protection of the taxpayers. If taxpayers do not want to spend their money on research, the government has no moral right to force them. Individual freedom is the fundamental basis of a civilized society. Without this guiding principle, other values hold little meaning. No matter how important science is to society, the principle of individual freedom is far more sacred.

The problem of government-funded research is not only moral; it also affects the long-term prosperity of society, which is based on the advancement of science. The nature of science is such that government financing tends to crowd out the investment made by private industry. Clearly, if people pay higher taxes, they would be less willing to spend additional money on private research investment or donations to research foundations. The danger is that as science becomes dependent on government, the rate of scientific development will slow. And unless we reverse this trend, we will retard the progress of our civilization, both morally and materially.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
no light either. on 11/12/2010 10:39:51 MST Print View

"The only qualification is the ability to think rationally."


Nope, that can't be it.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 11:22:28 MST Print View

Huh??? If the government shouldn't be dabbling in research are you suggesting privately funded research would be inherently be more objective? When billions of dollars could be at stake based upon the "scientifically-based" approval or denial of a product or process?

If the government shouldn't be in this business, who then should be trusted to regulate, based on objective research, what chemicals are allowed in our food, air, or water?

The companies that make and profit from the chemicals?

In this libertarian world, am I then responsible for testing my own air quality, my own car's safety, or my own kids food?

Edited by xnomanx on 11/12/2010 11:23:32 MST.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 11:58:23 MST Print View

All science is based on developing an explanation for something and then testing it. If the explanation is valid then others can confirm it by their testing, too. What is interesting to me is the situation where an explanation gets validated through testing by all; however, the explanation does not accurately reflect reality.

Here's an example I read somewhere: the first wrist watch is found on Earth. This wrist watch can not be opened without destroying it. Scientists gather around to explain how it shows the time of day. One group of scientists develop the digital theory saying that it is a computer chip. Testing proves that hours, minutes and seconds coincide with the Sun's time of day. Meanwhile another cadre of scientists formulate an opposing theory, the analog theory, that it is spring. Their testing proves their theory's validity.

We see that a tested theory or valid explanation is just that. What is going on inside the wrist watch will never be known for sure. Based on either of the theories, humans can make wrist watches that will work. Those manufactured devices are not the same as the original. We know the reality of what makes them work because we built them.

THEORY is one thing. APPLICATION of it is quite another.

The problem I see with climate science is there is no common frame of reference like with the unopenable wrist watch. In climate science the debate is about what is the speed of time. One last thing, even a broken watch is right twice a day : )

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 15:08:43 MST Print View

Huh??? If the government shouldn't be dabbling in research are you suggesting privately funded research would be inherently be more objective? When billions of dollars could be at stake based upon the "scientifically-based" approval or denial of a product or process?
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You mean product approval such as the FDA provides?

The FDA... that has doubled the time from laboratory to shelves?

The FDA... that has doubled the development cost of US sold drugs which average over $800 million dollars for each product?

And who is saving lives -- the FDA... or the companies that create the drugs?

More people in the US have died waiting for drug approval from the FDA for drugs that are already successfully in use in other countries than the number of people who died from the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

So without FDA regulation who would protect the public? The public would, by purchasing drugs from companies that have a reputation for providing safe pharmaceuticals. Bad reputation and no one buys the drugs, insurance companies won't pay for them, investors will not invest in them, and banks will not lend money. The only way a drug company can stay in business is to produce safe drugs. We can apply this logic to almost any industry. Aside from consumer driven self-regulation, any company who has hurt individuals can be held liable in court if the damage can be proven.

Automotive safety devices such as seat belts, air bags, and disc brakes were developed without the government and first offered without government regulation. If enough people want them, they will be included on the product. No regulation needed. If people want safe cars they demand it by buying safe products with the features they want. And manufacturers will try to add these devices to out-do their competitors, thus gaining market share... and thus making more profit.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 15:25:48 MST Print View

I'm not praising groups like the FDA...they're in bed with the companies they're supposed to regulate. Crony capitalism at its finest, if not bordering on fascism.

But, in the case of pharmaceuticals, how does the public know a new drug, a drug with no track record, is safe?
They don't; you're saying they simply have to trust in the track record of the company that made it.

If I'm ultimately to base my decisions on trust, I'd rather put mine in a group that tests products/processes it doesn't stand to profit from. That agency would also have to be staffed by people that don't take campaign contributions, financial kickbacks, stock, or any other benefits from the people or companies who's products they test and there needs to be complete transparency here...

So far as I can tell, these agencies don't exist. I know we're probably in agreement on this point.

But to trust the people that stand to profit? Haven't we seen enough disasters, cover-ups, and scams to know this is dangerous, if not simply naive?

Edited by xnomanx on 11/12/2010 15:27:03 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 16:26:56 MST Print View

I'd rather put mine in a group that tests products/processes it doesn't stand to profit from.
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But the group does profit, although I would not use that term. Profit is the gain from an investment or business operation after all expenses are deducted. The opposite would be a loss. A group that regulates does not gain from an investment or an operation, because they do not invest or produce anything... they loot from the producers.

The longer it takes the group to approve a product and the more bureaucratic the group becomes, the longer they work and the more job security they have. Their job is not to approve anything if they can. And if they approve something, they get no reward... thus they have no incentive to approve anything. The only incentive is to stay employed and obtain a generous retirement package. That is looting from the producers who provide the goods and services the public wants to purchase.

Now if one wanted to start their own agency to review products and SELL their advice to the public, that would be acceptable. Kind of like Consumer Reports... although I don't read it nor can I vouch for its recommendations.

And yes I have a answer for everything. I have studied this all my life and have developed a consistent, rational, and logical system that guides me through all my endeavors.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 16:33:40 MST Print View

"consistent, rational, and logical"

I'll agree with consistent, but I'm afraid that the belief that business will always do right by the consumer to stay in business or grow the business, or that the consumer will always stay away from businesses that do wrong by the consumer, is neither rational nor logical from my perspective. ;-) There are simply too many cases that prove otherwise.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 16:55:11 MST Print View

Well said Douglas.

Wasn't Alan Greenspan one of Ayn Rand's inner circle?
I dare to presume he knows a whole lot more about economics than me.
He certainly seemed to do a bit of an about-face on market deregulation. Watch his full testimony with Waxman.
A clip...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAH-o7oEiyY&feature=related

I do not advocate anything here except for the idea that a system which is too heavily biased in either direction spells disaster...free-market or fully socialized. We need a mix. I find the "markets will regulate themselves" notion about as Utopian as the most extreme socialist agendas.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Producers vs. the Rest of Us? on 11/12/2010 17:26:37 MST Print View

"A group that regulates does not gain from an investment or an operation, because they do not invest or produce anything... they loot from the producers."

I find the extension of this line of thinking a little disturbing. I'm also finding it in quite a bit of Rand's writing: the breakdown of people into producers vs. everyone else.

Who else, specifically, does not invest or produce and therefore "loots the producers?" Does this include anyone working within/under the umbrella of a government agency, especially those within any regulatory or social services related fields?

Even more specifically, as a public high school teacher (employed by the government) and a benefactor of wages, benefits, and a pension system secured through unionization, am I a "looter of the producers"?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 17:27:39 MST Print View

So would you say that the percentage of business people who are immoral or break the law is higher than the general population who are immoral or break the law?

Why do we just assume that business owners are immoral or law breakers? Is that not the same as assuming someone is bad based on their color, race, religious belief, or sexual orientation? We can go to jail for this, but not for being prejudiced against businessmen.

Often business people are deemed guilty until proven innocent, but everyone else is innocent until proven guilty.

A real treat would be for those who have not sat through a Labor Board hearing to do so. It is often up to the employer to prove he did no wrong, and the accuser needs not present any evidence. Not to say all employers are fair. I have gone through this process a few times, and never lost a case; but often I was treated as if I was the criminal, when in fact the employee was a liar.

Just because someone wants to make a profit does not make them evil... most often the opposite; they provide things to society that cannot be produced by any other means. And society benefits.

What if all car manufacturers decided they would stop producing cars and only would build mopeds? What would most people do? How would they get to work, go shopping, or even get to the trailhead for their hiking adventure. They need the car manufacturers, but hold them in contempt. Today we demand that someone build us cars, and we demand that they be 100% safe even under conditions they were not designed to operate. And we demand that they be nearly pollution free and demand they obtain an average of 35.5 MPG (see Obama's 2016 CAFE unified standards). We demand technology, and it is up to business to develop the solution.

Many of the high profile business crimes are perpetrated by individuals who could not make it on their own. Their "success" stems from being in bed with crocked government agencies, politicians, and the like; which provide favors to them. If they had to stand on their own merit, they would fail miserably.

Well, gotta go. Leaving for a weekend hiking adventure in my large SUV :)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 17:30:39 MST Print View

Wasn't Alan Greenspan one of Ayn Rand's inner circle?

Yes he was. And 5 years after her death, he joined the Federal Reserve which tries to manipulate the money supply. I am sure she is spinning in her grave.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Producers vs. the Rest of Us? on 11/12/2010 17:35:02 MST Print View

Does this include anyone working within/under the umbrella of a government agency, especially those within any regulatory or social services related fields?

Is this a legitimate function of government, based on the fundamental principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence?

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Producers vs. the Rest of Us? on 11/12/2010 17:53:18 MST Print View

The Bill of Rights goes out the window pretty quick when you've been wronged by someone but can't afford to file suit and your government doesn't provide you with an advocate or any legal representation.

Especially when you're a child born to f-ed up, dysfunctional parents.

Life, liberty....
Kinda hard to pursue when you've lost your job due to illness and yet you need your job to pay for your fight against your illness.
____________________________________________________
But all those problems go away when we just leave the markets alone.....

...and you dodged some pretty specific questions about teachers/public employees :)

Edited by xnomanx on 11/12/2010 17:53:48 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: light no heat. on 11/12/2010 17:54:36 MST Print View

"the only area of scientific research that clearly lies within the proper sphere of governmental activity is research for national defense. Therefore it must conduct its own research in military R&D."

Where do they get the money? The Chinese? Or do we tax the citizenry? The current 700+ billion dollar "defense" budget represents a lot of taxation for a guy who basically doesn't believe in taxes. On a related subject, where does the government get the money to care for the broken bodies and souls that return from the government's misbegotten wars? Estimates for that vary, but all are well into the trillions and rising. Who pays for the research into new treatments to better repair their broken bodies and minds? Or is that not military R&D? Any way you cut it, it'll take a lot taxing, Nick. Or is that not a government responsibility? It is health care afterall and, IIRC, health care is not a right in your system. What to do about providing for the families of vets no longer able to hold a job? More tax dollars? My position is that these technically unrelated areas are in fact part of the military's responsibility. They can either do the R&D tehemselves, or pay civilian scientist to do it for them. In either case, it takes money that has to come from somewhere. That generally means taxes or borrowing, unless, that is, you believe in Schmoos.

"The government has no moral right to take this money, which is the property of individual taxpayers, and use it in any way except for the direct protection of the taxpayers."

How about research into contagious diseases that can threaten the very viability of a society? Leave it to private, for profit companies? I don't think the citizens of any civilized society would go along with that proposition. More tax dollars.

"Individual freedom is the fundamental basis of a civilized society. Without this guiding principle, other values hold little meaning."

Many group oriented societies would say that individual freedom is secondary to the right to a full belly and a roof over one's head; lately health care has been added to this list. Their populations far exceed ours and they have been around far longer than we.

"No matter how important science is to society, the principle of individual freedom is far more sacred."

See immediately preceding comment.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 18:58:49 MST Print View

"So would you say that the percentage of business people who are immoral or break the law is higher than the general population who are immoral or break the law?

Why do we just assume that business owners are immoral or law breakers? Is that not the same as assuming someone is bad based on their color, race, religious belief, or sexual orientation? We can go to jail for this, but not for being prejudiced against businessmen.

Often business people are deemed guilty until proven innocent, but everyone else is innocent until proven guilty. " etc. etc.

Nick, since business people come from the general population, I think they're about as immoral, no higher, no lower. And I don't assume ALL business owners are immoral or law breakers. I assume some are (and it's pretty obvious, don't you think, that that's been borne out?).

Your belief/argument simply loses steam when you couch things in such stark black and white terms. You don't want to seem to admit that there are immoral business people, that there exists evil in significant amounts in some people, etc. It's because of this very human tendency, which most of us keep (mostly) at bay, to engage in dishonest conduct that requires some type of regulatory system. Not all, but too many people are simply not able to self regulate (the old 'locks are for honest people' bit).

So, I don't think 'business people' are bad or evil, but I certainly believe SOME business people are bad and even evil, just as I believe (well, know really) that some 'just plain people' are bad and even evil.

It's that shades of grey thing again.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 19:08:18 MST Print View

Our human behavior is a derivative of our animal roots.

It is all about survival.

Things we do that seem higher than animal level are merely positioning ourselves for a better angle of attack.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: light no heat. on 11/12/2010 19:25:40 MST Print View

"Maybe everyone needs to take a break from the discussion for a while and talk about some other things?"

As always Miguel is a (actually, the) voice of reason. Truth is that I'm not convinced by some of the wilder claims made as evidence of climate change. I remember years ago that Peter Garrett (now a government minister) was comparing two photos of a beach and saying look how much the water has risen! That's the evidence of rising seas. I just thought: maybe the tide was in.

That said, there is clear evidence of changes in the rain patterns in my part of the world and they are going to cause problems down the track. My guess is that higher CO2 levels are a factor in that change - and that's the measured, researched and modelled working hypothesis of the CSIRO.

I don't think I'm going to convince Rog and I don't think Rog is going to convince me. And I have a 2.5 year old putting An-pan Man band-aids on my knee so I think we may now go do our Saturday arvo walk to the bookshops (with a special treat on the way), if I can get her away from her Hi-5 video.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: light no heat. on 11/12/2010 19:39:55 MST Print View

>>have a 2.5 year old

Enjoy those walks. In a blink of an eye, she will be 32.5

Focus on the present moment (whenever possible)