Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The cost of understanding

[For the record this is a writing project, an exercise... it has and will be edited as I strive to better express my concerns... ]

The foundation of the contrarian attack on climate science seems to be that the science should be constrained by the potential costs associated with responding to the lessons the science teaches us.

I can dramatize what I mean using a recent exchange I had at  SkepticForum when someone shrugged off some information links I offered with the misdirection:

"I'm not very good at argument by link.  If you've got a case to make, make it.  KISS rule applies...  Pick one topic, one problem, one solution."  
~ ~ ~

my reply: 
As for the links I offered, I can't do your learning for you. 

I know some folks believe all that matters is creating wonderful arguments and distracts and gotchas; and though I sometimes participate in that game...
I know that in the end - learning something new and gaining a better understanding of the world around you is what matters - but no one can do that for you.

Thus, I've made a habit of supplying links that offer the intellectually curious some learning opportunities.

Give your curiosity a chance... do some reading, a little studying and learning - you'll realize that it's not as simple as one topic, one problem, one solution at a time.

~ ~ ~
I see nothing of substance in your dialog.  Sorry.  

1) The problem: your words here. Try to be specific.  Include costs.
2) The solution: your words here. Try to be specific.  Include costs.

Try that.  Maybe then I'll get whatever point you're trying to make. I've got an open mind, wee as it is.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

What does cost have to do with understanding what we are doing to our atmosphere, climate and biosphere?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

An excellent question.  The answer can be summarized: If the premium exceeds the cost of the risk, don’t insure.

Now, without knowing the cost, how can I determine which solution is best?  You don't have to think of cost in strictly monetary terms, but it does help to find some objective measure.  The more objective the better.  For example, 'Lives" would be okay, but "Person-years" would be more betterest.  OTOH, Spotted Owl Life Years would be overdoing it.  A simple count is sometimes more appropriate.  It's also nice to use one currency.  If you must use more than one, provide the exchange rate.

There are times when the exchange rate is hard to calculate.  How many person-years are there to each Spotted Owl? You'll have to come to some agreement with your debate partner. If she insists zero and you are stuck at a million, you might as well save your bandwidth for more productive ventures.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sounds like quite the formula for manipulating the science.
Shouldn't it be like that "blind justice" thing? 

First honestly understanding what is happening upon our planet.

Then, debate the most cost effective ways to deal with it.

But that isn't what you're suggesting...
Your approach is more along the lines of I don't want to know the dangers since that would require a responsible response.

The tragedy is, what economically driven contrarian folks ignore will harm our children and their world.


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