On 6/15/2013 3:24 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
Coincidentally I came across this wikipage of Freeman Dyson quotes today:

  * My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly 
exaggerated.
    Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the 
crowd of
    deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. 
Of
    course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not 
qualified
    to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can 
do. The
    models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of
    describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a 
very poor
    job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of 
fields and
    farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we 
live in.
    *The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet
    understand.* It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned 
building
    and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is 
really
    happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate 
model
    experts end up believing their own models.
      o "Heretical Thoughts about Science and Society", in /Edge/ (8 August 
2007)
        <http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge219.html#dysonf>


He's right that the world is messy. But climate scientists are out measuring everything they can think of. And because things are messier than the models doesn't mean they are exaggerating the effects; they can just as well be underestimating the effects.

 *


  * I believe global warming is grossly exaggerated as a problem. *It's a real 
problem,
    but it's nothing like as serious as people are led to believe.* The idea 
that global
    warming is the most important problem facing the world is total nonsense 
and is
    doing a lot of harm. It distracts people's attention from much more serious 
problems.
      o Interview in /Salon/ (29 September 2007)
        <http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2007/09/29/freeman_dyson/>


Since we don't have precise predictions (and such predictions would require predicting what people are going to do) we don't know whether it merely serious or catastrophic.

 *


  * All the books that I have seen about the science and the economics of global
    warming, including the two books under review, miss the main point. The 
main point
    is religious rather than scientific. There is a worldwide secular religion 
which we
    may call environmentalism, holding that we are stewards of the earth, that
    despoiling the planet with waste products of our luxurious living is a sin, 
and that
    the path of righteousness is to live as frugally as possible. ... 
Environmentalism
    has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion.
      o /The New York Review of Books/ (12 June 2008)


That's nonsense. Environmentalism is not a religion, it's based on evidence of despoiling large parts of the Eartha and on a scientific understanding of the relation of human well being to that of the environment. It is no more a religion than consumerism - which is the more widely practiced philosophy of life - "Who dies with the most toys wins" - in the OECD nations and one that is promoted by trillions of dollars in advertising.

Brent

 *

What do others think about his comments?  Are his critiques valid?

Jason


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