Global Warming deniers: Get a grip

From the data I’ve seen and been able to verify, it does seem that humanity’s greatest challenge is Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW – Humanly caused Global Warming). The data supporting AGW is overwhelming. Still there are those who choose to deny it or remain sceptical.

I can understand and appreciate the sceptics – as long as they make an effort to inform themselves – by being open to the underlying data and science and dig down into the underlying physics and statistics.

But when I encounter deniers, uniformily they come across as very certain that either 1) there is no Global Warming, or 2) the Global Warming is not caused by humans. They also tend to believe that there is some sort of conspiracy to forward the idea of AGW to funnel money into research and green energy. I have yet to meet a denier that has been to areas affected by Global Warming or who has any scientific knowledge to understand the physics or statistics involved.

It seems the belief in conspiracy theories is the driving force for the majority of deniers. They loudly proclaim that one should “follow the money trail”, because money is the driving force of conspiracies. It baffles me how they do not heed their own advice. The amount of money to be gained by oil companies in denying AGW totally dwarves the money gathered into scientific research and Green Energy – by a factor of at least ten. Much, much more is gained by “The Establishment” in lobbying against AGW than for it.

For some deniers, it seems safest to kill AGW at its roots by denying there is any rise in temperatures at all – citing local “cold spots” as evidence, or simply just invent data or opinions to counter facts. This type of deniers are marginalized and may soon find themselves as scarce as the Flat Earthers.

The majority of deniers would admit there is warming going on but deny there is any human connection. Again, the data and science is mounting against this position. The problem is that they almost never try to actually defend their position with any facts. They use opinions, hand waving or Internet memes trying to “discredit” science.

The deniers I’ve met are usually right-wing extremists. Denying AGW seems to be a political position and has very little to do with facts. It is the old conflict between propaganda and science.

It’s strange how people still would defend the fossil energy industry when there are more jobs to be made in the green industry. And wouldn’t the deniers also want cleaner air and water at least? And wouldn’t you rather err with science than take a position that could potentially be catastrophic for mankind?

I have been to the arctic and seen the effects of AGW with my own eyes. I understand the statistics and physics involved. The deniers I’ve met rely on second hand information and none have been able to show any signs of understanding the underlying science. If anything would motivate me to man the barricades, this issue would be it.

On being an introvert

I do talks and speeches to large audiences. I jump up and down, gesticulate and enthusiastically deliver messages on stage. I coach lots of people – from athletes, artists, executives and people off the street. People see me as a highly extrovert personality who loves being in the spotlight and love talking to lots of people.

When Anette got me to answer 20 questions designed to determine if a person is an extrovert or an introvert, I ended up scoring 85% introvert. And it fits perfectly. I am an introvert.

I love being in my own company, doing my own things without interference or external chatter, noise or direction. I love it to bits. Writing books or articles, programming, creating music or digital art, poetry, drawings, stargazing with my telescope or tinkering with my calculator collection. This gives me energy.

introvert

While I also love doing stuff on stage and coach people, it takes energy. But I do love that I get exhausted. Thing is – the things that gives energy is my introverted activities. The stuff that cost me energy is my extroverted activities. I still love doing them, but I need my introverted activities to keep me from burning out. It’s just how it is, really. And I like the mix.

I do not fit in the classical introvert category of thinking a lot, planning carefully, keeping a personal distance to others, etc. I’m an impulsive, anarchistic introvert who don’t mind people getting deep under my skin. Bah, the further I try to pin it down, the harder it becomes – almost like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Maybe trying pin people down by labelling is both an unhealthy and futile activity. I believe people should remain fluid – much like Bruce Lee once said, “Be water, my friend”.

Trump for President!

After several weeks of trying to raise awareness of the disaster it would be to elect Donald Trump as the president of the USA, I have changed my mind.

I will now support Trump and cheer on him from abroad – hoping he will hit a Home Run next week.

trump

I will support him precisely because it will be a disaster. It will set the effort to curtail global warming back decades when he pulls the US support for the Paris Agreement. Trump is notoriously anti-science and pro-conspiracies and conveniently believes climate change to be a hoax. I believe global warming is the single most important issue facing the Earth for the next century. And we cannot fail in our efforts to not fuck up our planet.

But, it’s better to fail hard and fast than to fail in ten years when the crisis is even tougher. And I don’t believe we can afford not to fail now. We must let Trump win so that he can fail in public so that the US can learn fast – and then join in with other nations that want to pull our weight together. The alternative is worse – having 150 million disaffected Americans sulking and bitching for the next 4 years.

Shielding the US from Muslims, Mexicans, Syrian refugees (which is largely due to the US intervention in the Middle East), free trade and everything Mr. Trump doesn’t like is certainly not the way forward. But no amount of rhetoric, persuasion or facts will convince Trump supporters that we need to pull together. The egoism runs too deep. He needs to wreck havoc in order for people to understand that this right wing lunacy is a dead end.

I believe in failing. And learning. It’s core to my coaching of athletes, executives and artists. US needs to learn. Since the world has never been socially better off than now, we should afford 4 years of crazy shit to accommodate for better decades to come.

It apparently wasn’t enough for Bush to fail, he’s simply been written off later as “part of the establishment”. We need another fast and solid failure.

Vote for Trump. Make America Fail Again.

Occam’s Razor: Fail

Recap what Occam’s Razor is by reading my previous blog post on this principle.

william-of-ockham-razor-quote

The principle has habitually failed to live up to it’s promise as a guide for choosing the right scientific path. Here’s why.

“A Viking looks up at the sky. The dark gray clouds, the thunder and lightning is a sure sign of heavy rain coming. It is also the sure sign of Thor’s anger. We have angered the God of the skies. Or, it is the sure sign of complex physical processes represented with unfathomably complex weather mathematics at play.”

“The universe was created by an all-powerful being that decided to experience. Or, it was created by an incredible fine-tuning of six numbers for what what we have no explanation, allowing for life to evolve in a near impossible improbability with physical processes so complex we cannot see any end to it’s complexity.”

Occam’s Razor tells us to choose the simplest explanation with the fewest assumptions. And before you think that Thor is an improbable assumption, then realize he would be but one assumption as compared to a huge amount of assumptions at play in our current physical models of the weather and the universe at large.

Applying the “scientific” principle of Occam’s Razor, we should perhaps have stayed with the Gods.

Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

I just read an article in “Philosophy Now” with this title. The article is definitely worth a read as it tackles common misapplications of Ockham’s Razor.

william-of-ockham-razor-quote

To fill you in on this principle, let’s quote WhatIs.com:

Ockham’s razor (also spelled Occam’s razor, pronounced AHK-uhmz RAY-zuhr) is the idea that, in trying to understand something, getting unnecessary information out of the way is the fastest way to the truth or to the best explanation. William of Ockham (1285-1349), English theologian and philosopher, spent his life developing a philosophy that reconciled religious belief with demonstratable, generally experienced truth, mainly by separating the two. Where earlier philosophers attempted to justify God’s existence with rational proof, Ockham declared religious belief to be incapable of such proof and a matter of faith. He rejected the notions preserved from Classical times of the independent existence of qualities such as truth, hardness, and durability and said these ideas had value only as descriptions of particular objects and were really characteristics of human cognition.

Ockham was noted for his insistence on paying close attention to language as a tool for thinking and on observation as a tool for testing reality. His thinking and writing is considered to have laid the groundwork for modern scientific inquiry.

Ockham’s insistence on the use of parsimony (we might call it minimalism) in thought resulted in some later writer’s invention of the term, Ockham’s razor. Among his statements (translated from his Latin) are: “Plurality is not to be assumed without necessity” and “What can be done with fewer [assumptions] is done in vain with more.” One consequence of this methodology is the idea that the simplest or most obvious explanation of several competing ones is the one that should be preferred until it is proven wrong.

The article in “Philosophy Now” tackles the logical boundaries of this principle. When it can be used and when it can not be used. I won’t reiterate the article here, only expand upon it – and in a way that doesn’t require reading the article to get my point. Here goes:

One common atheist line of reasoning is that since science is successfully explaining more and more of existence, the need for God becomes less and less. And by applying Ockham’s Razor, we might as well erase the need for a God altogether. This is a theme common among New Atheist authors such authors as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

This logic is wrong. And it is easily proven through simple mathematics:

If you have one value decreasing as a result of another increasing, you cannot simply assume that if the increasing value gets arbitrarily high, the other will eventually become zero. Even if the increasing value becomes infinite, there is no reason to think that the decreasing value becomes zero.

Consider this simple equation:

f(x) = \frac{1}{x}

As “x” approaches infinity, the result, “f(x)” approaches zero. But it will never become zero. Because if you were to equate 1/∞ with zero, you would get the obvious absurdity that ∞/∞ is also zero:

\frac{\infty}{\infty} = \infty * \frac{1}{\infty} = \infty * 0 = 0

..which obviously is absurd. Informally, such uses of Ockham’s Razor comes under the heading of the “hasty generalization” fallacy.