Friday, August 21, 2015

Brace for Impact

More and more it's looking like curtains for civilization as we know it.  Some experts on global warming are now saying we are past the tipping point.  Of course we don't know for certain.  It's possible an unforeseen technological advancement could save us.  One difficulty though is we probably need civilization in order to implement a technological advancement that would save us.  But it is our civilization, which is capitalist with ever expanding consumption, that is killing us.  Civilization is both our demise and our possible savior.

I wonder what future generations will think of us.  They might be tempted to view global warming deniers as super nefarious people.  Maybe they'll see them as mass murderers.  But it's not the case.  They're true believers.  It's just incredible what humans are capable of believing.  Evidence is just not as important as other factors.  One factor I believe is just overwhelming.  Preference.

I think George W Bush genuinely believed Saddam had WMD's.  It was a convenient conclusion because it justified an invasion that had long been desired.  I think Cheney and Wolfowitz really did think Laurie Mylroie was on to something when she claimed Saddam was really the center of global Islamic terror.

I saw an interesting movie recently called Witch Hunt.  You can watch it here.  It's about how an aggressive prosecutor wrongly convicted dozens of people on charges of child molestation/abuse/rape.  It was very interesting and I recommend it.  You watch it and you'll be ticked about the prosecutor and the police interrogators who lead the children to make the incriminating claims.

But one policemen is somewhat unapologetic.  He points out that there was no conspiracy to screw people over.  You're dealing with charges involving kids, so you do what you have to do.  There's not a lot of remorse.

Kind of infuriating but it reinforces what I'm saying about preference.  When you have an incentive to reach a certain conclusion you just do.  For them there was a culture coming from the top down that tough on crime was going to lead to professional success.  People didn't have to be told to bend the rules.  They internalized it.  They believed it.  And they probably go home and sleep like babies.

For profit media of course has owners and advertisers that have preferences.  Billionaire donors to politicians have preferences.  Indulging those preferences is what's going to lead you to more professional success if you are a media personality or a politician.  These people believe what they are saying.  Global warming isn't happening, or if it is it isn't caused by man, or if it is we shouldn't do anything about it.  Yeah, they believe it, despite overwhelming evidence.

The result is we're screwed.  Something like 250 species go extinct per day.  The polar cap will be ice free in a few years, something that has not been true in human history.  At that point the warming is going to accelerate.  Will the deniers admit it at that point?  Probably not.  It's not their preference.