Can We Afford To Bet Our American Economy On The Supposition That Freeman Dyson Is Wrong?

by Jack Lifton on April 1, 2009 · 2 comments

in News Analysis

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The New York Times last week published a profile on Freeman Dyson, in the context of his stance on global warming.

Albert Einstein’s work was considered heretical, because it was interpreted by those who thought him wrong as a repudiation of Newton, who as everyone knew was right. Those who challenged Einstein were for the most part not only very eminent, but who also had an understanding of the issues being raised by Einstein. There were very few people qualified to challenge Einstein, but the average person, no matter how intelligent, was not among them. Einstein’s detractors and his supporters were both among the cream of the human race in intelligence. What they had in common was their belief that only empirical evidence could resolve the issue, as it ultimately did when an critical experiment was designed that could be carried out practically. That is not at all how to describe the cult-like followers of the religion of global warming, and it is a very good reason to withhold judgement on global warming until all of the facts are in.

If global warming is mostly man-made, or even enough man-made so that reducing the man-made component of global warming can reverse it, then either of these propositions could be tested by simply eliminating man-made gases hypothesized to be causing global warming and seeing if it stops.

Of course, such an experiment, if done using the earth’s atmosphere, will destroy the industrial economy of the human race and cause famine, plagues, and possibly a return to temperatures so low that the human race could no longer survive on some portions, now inhabited, of the earth’s surface.

The idea that the human race is going to subject itself to such an experiment to see if the supposition is true is not credible.

The real driver for the development of alternate energy production is not the reduction of the evil production of so-called global warming gases, such as life-giving (to plants) carbon dioxide, but the fact that easily accessed hydrocarbons are becoming too rare to be used for much longer, in the quantities that have been used, if that usage is to be expanded to encompass 2 or 3 times as many people’s energy economy as it does today.

Politicians with no leadership skills are frightened of the people they claim to represent. Too frightened to tell them that nuclear power is the only possible way to generate enough electricity to bring the standard of living and quality of life enjoyed by the West to the rest of the world.

Freeman Dyson is of course right about climate change being natural and mostly capable of being made beneficial. Scientific illiterates with international prizes are not equivalent in credibility, to giants of the stature of Freeman Dyson when it comes to interpreting data and proposing experiments.

The best way for the ignorant to deflect scientific criticism is to make ad hominem attacks.

Here’s a good one. I propose that one Freeman Dyson is worth 100,000 Al Gores for the progress of the human race towards an accommodation with nature.

Can anyone tell me of a single achievement of Al Gore’s that matches any of those of Freeman Dyson?

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1 Tim Farage February 18, 2010 at 2:24 AM

This is a great article that gets right to the point. Any plans that cause more poverty, such as a carbon tax, will make life worse for the poor, because their energy costs will go up.

But if we do nuclear power right (as France has done) we can start building nuclear plants the generate inexpensive electricity, are safe, and non-polluting. This will make everything else cheaper, and lead to properity for more people, and yet dramatically decrease our CO2 output.

It is a win-win solution, and right now President Obama is pushing for it.

2 Tim Farage February 18, 2010 at 2:29 AM

As a mathematician and a computer scientist with a background in physics and chemistry as well, I have looked at much of the AGW data. If you care to study the IPCC reports carefully, they will show a wide range of predictions about how much global warming occur over the next century.

When I just look at the data for the last 40 years, it looks as if the temperature will increase 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit, and we might possibly be better off than we are now. But am I sure that this trend will continue? No.

So with so much uncertainty, is there anything rational that we can do in the United States? Yes, there is – there’s a lot we can do.

First, every new energy plant we build should be nuclear, and we should invest in developing a good design using thorium as fuel. You’d be surprised at how much better a thorium nuclear power plant can be – and the current uranium ones are really good, so that says a lot.

Second, within 10 years or so, battery powered cars will be cost effective. If we move quickly with nuclear power, we can charge those batteries with electricity generated from thorium power plants. So no pollution there, either. And these cars will have many fewer moving parts and costs for them will go down.

Also, in 10 years, solar cells on roof tops should be cost-effective, and homes will be so well insulated that they will use very little energy.
There are many other things we can do, but they all have this in common – if done right, they will save us money. If we can just imitate France which gets over 75% of its electricity from nuclear power, we can have inexpensive, safe, and non-polluting energy.

The lesson of Haiti was that it wasn’t the earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, it was poverty. If we implement the suggestions I’ve given above, we will do more to decrease pollution than any carbon tax or any treaty will do, AND we’ll prosper at the same time.

We could even build, run and deal with the nuclear materials for nuclear power plants in other countries, helping them to prosper. It is prosperity that allows us the ability to build earthquake resistant home, and have catalytic converters in our cars, and clean water, and sanitation, etc.

So let’s have the least polluting environment possible, and prosper at the same time. Then, whether or not the Earth warms significantly, we’ll benefit.

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