Why I am no longer a skeptic on climate change

By | December 16, 2009

average monthly data from 1979-2000Before any discussion of global warming (or climate change if you prefer) can begin, one unfortunately is expected to state up front if they accept it or are a skeptic. So my disclosure is that I currently accept anthropogenic (i.e. human caused) Global Warming (AGW) as a scientific fact, despite considering myself a ‘skeptic’ in general. I wasn’t born believing that AGW is real though. When I first heard of AGW years ago, it was through the mainstream media. I got the impression from the media that there was a strong legitimate debate about the veracity of AGW. At first I did not know what to believe, but suspected that humans weren’t the cause of global warming, if it was happening at all. I never much liked the environmentalism movement and was therefore skeptical of all their claims, whether they made sense or were hyperbolic. As I got more involved with the skeptical community, I learned which sources were trustworthy and which were less so on various scientific issues. I also learned about the non-rational psychological processes that can lead people to believe or not believe certain ideas. But honestly, I do not know exactly when, how, or why my views changed, but it’s interesting to briefly look back and examine why I did not accept AGW, and perhaps it can give us some clues as to why others still don’t.I find that most people that are skeptical of global warming do not have good rational reasons for their skepticism. According to a recent article in my local paper (originally from Agence France-Presse), people do not accept global warming because it would negatively impact their desire to consume. I think this theory may help explain some AGW doubt. People do not want to feel guilty about their habits. In order to assuage guilt, we either attempt to fix the cause of the guilt, which takes effort, or we deny that the problem exists, which is much easier. This denial is not done purposefully, it is done subconsciously. Through psychological factors such as cognitive dissonance, our brain decides for us what we should believe, on an instinctual level. We don’t actively choose what to believe, we are influenced in many ways and our beliefs are then formed. Rational judgement of scientific evidence is only one of these influences on our beliefs. In fact, for the case of AGW, I’d even argue that the scientific evidence plays an even smaller part in someone’s acceptance.As someone with libertarian/right-wing values, I’ve learned to accommodate the inconvenient truth of AGW. I think the turning point may have been learning about arch-skeptic (and libertarian) Michael Shermer’s about face on the issue. The fact that the founder of Skeptic Magazine could not remain an AGW skeptic made me re-examine my personal AGW skepticism. It made me take a fresh look at an issue that I realized may have been clouded by subconscious influences. After reading debunking after debunking of poor AGW skeptic arguments, I had no more excuses. Just as some religious people find ways to accommodate the fact of evolution, I found ways to accommodate global warming despite my political views. As the president of a local skeptic organization I’m often asked if I’ve ever changed my mind due to scientific evidence, I’m proud to say that in this case I did.

via Jonathan Abrams: Why I am no longer a skeptic on climate change – Full Comment.

22 thoughts on “Why I am no longer a skeptic on climate change

  1. Klem

    I guess I’m a skeptic until climate science can deliver the big hammer; The big proof that CO2 is responsible for warming the planet. They have lots of theories, and lots of evidence and most of the time nature shows them to be wrong but some time in the future they are going to find the door slamming evidence, the evicdence that closes the case. But until that time comes I am forced to remain a skeptic.

    I’m sure you found one piece of evidence which tipped you to the dark side. What was it? Surely you don’t go simply by the ‘preponderence of evidence’ story. There has to have been one point which really drove the theory home. I ahve never heard one, so I’m still waiting.

    Oh by the way, read this. http://www.studentsonice.com/blog/?p=1952

    I love it.

  2. Xeno Post author

    Fair questions Klem. Can you disprove any of the assertions below? You can’t build a house with one big hammer. It takes a lot of small nails, ordinary sized hammers, and many other tools and materials. There is not just one point of proof, there are many, because Climate Change / Global Warming is multi-dimensional.

    1 ) The earth is, overall, heating up, and the rate of heating is accelerating.
    2 ) Green house gases cause the earth to heat up.
    3 ) CO2 is a green house gas.
    4 ) CO2 has increased significantly. 1
    5 ) Man is the main contributor to the CO2 increase.
    6 ) Many people will die as the earth heats up.
    7 ) Historically, human-caused environmental catastrophes led to the collapse of civilizations.
    8 ) Ice sheets are made of ice, which melts above a certain temperature
    9 ) An average global temperature increase between two and nine degrees could melt the Greenland Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
    10) If these two ice sheets melt, sea levels will rise five to 16 to 32 feet, displacing half a billion people from their homes.

    The North Pole may indeed be ice free within 5 years. Opinions don’t matter. Not mine, not yours, not Al Gore’s. Only data matters. I added a graph based on real data that shows a decline in arctic ice of 4.5% per decade.

    It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

    The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

    “From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water,” said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado. …

    Seasoned polar scientists believe the chances of a totally ice-free North Pole this summer are greater than 50:50 because the normally thick ice formed over many years at the Pole has been blown away and replaced by huge swathes of thinner ice formed over a single year.

    This one-year ice is highly vulnerable to melting during the summer months and satellite data coming in over recent weeks shows that the rate of melting is faster than last year, when there was an all-time record loss of summer sea ice at the Arctic. – timesonline

  3. Ann

    Klem,

    Nice metaphors: Waiting for science to deliver “the big hammer” for that “door slamming evidence.”

    Let’s suppose that you are fooled into waiting.

    Don’t get gnarled and riled, we’re only supposing you being made a fool.

    Consider: Who stands to gain or lose with policies that may control climate change? If there is harm in the long-term process of global warming and policies are enacted to restrict that warming, wouldn’t we stand, in fact, to gain?

    What about oil companies? Would they gain or lose? What if, in fact, oil companies are doing what they can to slant and bias science in their favor? What if we have evidence that they are doing just that:

    John Cushman in the New York Times (April 26, 1998) wrote that the American Petroleum Institute (a representative organization of the oil industry) was, in fact, looking for “scientists who share the industry’s views of climate science.”

    Now, why do you suppose they wanted to do that? Because they wanted “to train” these scientists “in public relations so they can help convince [note: it was necessary to persuade] journalists, politicians and the public that the risk of global warming is too uncertain [note!] to justify controls on greenhouse gases.”

    To make the issue “uncertain” means there will be no “door slamming” evidence.

    In fact, there’s list of organizations who got on the climate issue and that also get big bucks to support the oil industry’s views.

    For example:

    American Council on Science and Health has received $125,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998

    Atlas Economic Research Foundation, an anti-regulation lobby group, received $925,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998

    Cato Institute, a conservative libertarian “think tank” and lobby group that has received $125,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998

    Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) has received $260,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998

    Competitive Enterprise Institute has received $2,005,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998

    There’s more information here:

    http://www.ofcomswindlecomplaint.net/Misreprestn_Views/FundingBodies.htm#APXC.10

    But, you don’t have to believe me or just one website, do your own research find out for yourself how a lot of us are being made fools.

    But, this really shouldn’t surprise you. The pharmaceutical industry is doing the same thing in the medical sciences. And, the chemical industry has being doing same kind of science funding since Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring in the late 1950s.

  4. Xeno Post author

    Weird, I see a comment from gavin in my email as having come in, but it is not showing up here… I thought it had some good questions so I’m re-posting it:

    ——————
    There are some reports that levels “have not been this high” in 15 million years, or 2 million years, or even 700,00 years. Assuming that to be true, then there must have been a shitload of SUVs thousands or millions of years ago. If not, then what could have contributed to such high CO2 levels back then?

    Also, if the Earth can be destroyed by CO2, then it’s quite unfortunate that pretty much EVERYTHING on Earth is made of carbon. D’oh!

    If there is a positive correlation between temperature and CO2 levels, then please explain why temperatures have not continuously increased, but rather ebb and flow.

    Finally, shouldn’t the burden of proof be on those who assert AGW as a scientific principle? Why should skeptics have to prove a negative?

    1. Xeno Post author

      Hi Gavin,
      Good questions.

      1) If CO2 levels were as high as today 15 million years ago (as Aradhna Tripati, a UCLA assistant professor in the department of Earth and space sciences and the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences says in this article) but humans have only been around for 2.5 million years (and have only looked like we do now for the past 200,000 and have only had cars for the past 100 years, what caused past high CO2 levels?

      The answer may be a bolide meteor impact. The Nördlinger Ries crater in southwestern Germany, which is dated to that time. “The resulting explosion had the power of 1.8 million Hiroshima bombs.” The impact can release massive amounts of trapped CO2 in a very short time. Yes, volcanoes do contribute to CO2, and a super volcano may have been the culprit 15 million years ago, but they aren’t responsible for the CO2 rise in modern times because the CO2 rise around the active volcano Mauna Loa is the same as at other places where there is no active volcano.

      2) The Earth could be destroyed by too much of any element or molecule, but the important thing is WHERE the CO2 is. If too much of it ends up in the atmosphere it traps sunlight which then heats up the planet. Everything that is alive or was alive contains carbon, but see abundance of chemical elements.

      3) Temperatures rise and fall due to the fact that the earth is moving. The earth is rotating, the earth is tilted on its axis and it is revolving around the sun. This causes daily and seasonal variations in temperatures which in turn causes cyclical changes in CO2. This happens for several reasons: a) because heat and light from the sun gives life on earth more energy and with that energy respiration increases. Respiration is the breaking down of glucose (or other organic molecules) into carbon dioxide and water. b) decay increases with sunlight and warmth, and decaying things release CO2. c) at the surface of the ocean, warmer water releases CO2 back into the atmosphere.

      CO2 levels thus go up and down, but if you look at the chart, they are overall going up. It is logical to ask if the sun is responsible, but even when the solar output goes down, CO2 continues to rise from the burning of fossil fuels and the making of cement.

      “Solar activity has shown little to no long term trend since the 1950’s. Consequently, any correlation between sun and climate ended in the 1970’s when the modern global warming trend began.” – skepticalscience

      4) If you passed by a house and noticed that the people in it were throwing lit matches on the walls and wood floor which was starting small fires, and you told the people inside that they were at risk of burning down their house and they refused to believe you, and told you the burden of proof was on you, would you think they were freakin’ insane?

      1. gavin

        1) 95% of CO2 emissions are natural. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=seven-answers-to-climate-contrarian-nonsense

        2) Historically, temperatures ebb and flow, and not just in modern times. See the sixth chart re: historic temperatures in Antarctica: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/09/hockey-stick-observed-in-noaa-ice-core-data/ .

        Additionally, the “climate-gate” scandal has demonstrated that AGW proponents have been relying upon manipulated (“adjusted”) data that cannot be replicated. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/08/the-smoking-gun-at-darwin-zero/

        3) Someone’s house being on fire is a poor analogy, as whether one’s house is on fire cannot be reasonably disputed. Scientists cannot predict what the weather will be seven days from now, because of the complexity of the Earth. Yet they are supposed to predict what the climate will be in 100 years?

        Regarding the burden of proof, a recent AGW proponent dismissed “climate-gate” by saying that there is a “preponderance of the evidence” that AGW exists. http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?id=17412&channel=0&title=Nobel+peace+winner+on+leaked+emails . A “preponderance of the evidence” is somewhere between 51% and 65% certainty. This is the lowest burden of proof second to “probable cause.” Notice he didn’t say there was “clear and convincing” evidence, or evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Assuming the data he relied upon is correct, AGW is “proved” by only 51% certainty, and then the burden shifts to skeptics to prove otherwise? (By analogy, I would be able to prove to you by beyond a reasonable doubt that your house is on fire.)

        And who’s to say that sea levels are NOT supposed to increase naturally, as has been the case throughout Earth’s history? I live in Florida, and all of Florida has been under water at one time or another. And who’s to say warming will not be a net benefit to society, causing better growing seasons (and prosperity) throughout the world? Why is the Earth, in its present state, the only acceptable state? Sea levels may increase, but not all at once like a Tsunami. And if the globe CONTINUES to cool, does CO2 save the world from the disaster of freezing, which is much more of a threat to humanity than warming?

      2. arjay001

        I have a hard time with the idea that human activity is the sole reason for climate change.

        Solar cycle – very weak with limited observations of sunspots over the last 300 or so years. Is it possible that the sun has undiscovered cycles?

        The whole thing with the earth’s orbit, the tilt of the axes and variations in the elliptical shape of the orbit – Those cycles that last for 100,000 years and all. Do we have enough data to understand what is going on? Do we know all the cycles at play?

        Big Items that change climate without regards to cycles, like comets, astriods and volcanos.

        If we are the cause then the good news is that we have burned through most of the cheap fossil fuel. The human race is going green! Not because it is the right thing to do. It is just going to get too expensive to use fossil fuels any more. Now if we could only get them to replant the rain forest.

        RJ

      3. Xeno Post author

        Hi RJ,
        The earth has heated and cooled many times for possibly different reasons during its history. The consensus of climate scientists is that, yes, this time, humans are the main cause. The earth is a complicated dynamic system, but we don’t have to find or understand every puzzle piece to see the big picture.

        A big problem from what I’ve read is that way before we run out, as oil gets more scarce, we will use dirtier stuff and pollution will greatly increase.

      4. Xeno Post author

        Gavin,
        1) Would you fly in a hot air balloon if I told you 95% of it doesn’t have a hole?
        2) Would you burn down your house because it was built where there was once a volcano?
        3) Would you bet the future of our species on your belief that “Climategate” is not an industry-manufactured fake conspiracy?
        4) What we are disputing is the risk of the house catching fire. The earth is quite habitable right now. The house is not on fire at the moment.
        5) Yes, we may have stopped an ice age and even if we have a major climate change, the point of our big brains is that some of us will have a good chance of finding a way to survive. There are events which could make the entire Earth uninhabitable, however, and so far, we don’t have a back up planet.

  5. Ann

    Still looking for that “door slamming evidence” are we?

    I’m telling you, you’ll NOT find it, because it has been made a political issue, like I implied, by the oil industry.

    So, go ahead debate onward, while the oil industry sits back, smiles and pats itself on the back on a job well done.

    (As a matter of fact the same strategy of extending the debate was done not only by the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, by even the ALCOHOL and BEER INDUSTRY, if you really want to know some fundamental basics.)

  6. gavin

    Yes, I’m looking for “door slamming evidence” before dumping trillions dollars into something. How dare we ask questions and demand proof before altering the entire schematic of modern life in the world.

    One may hate the “evil oil companies” and evil pharmaceutical companies, but without both, humans wouldn’t live to be 48 years old. See page 35, showing life expectancy of 47.3 in 1900 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_09.pdf. What about the evil boating industry, which will see record profits when all land on Earth is submerged? I’m sure their behind it, too. But I’m sure all the “green” companies out there wouldn’t mind going out of business, and scientists wouldn’t mind losing their research grants, if AGW was proved false. Obviously, there could be no motive behind these industries to “hide the decline.”

    Just because people make a profit from something doesn’t make it bad. Profits pull people out of poverty, increase people’s standard of living, and allow them to enjoy many of the benefits even impoverished people in the United States take for granted.

  7. Ann

    Dear gavin,

    Now, I said, “don’t get gnarled and riled.” I realize this is an emotional issue, but don’t let it pull you down.

    I never once said oil, pharmaceutical or even boating companies were “evil.” This isn’t a religious issue, but more like a political and economic debate about ecological issues. (No need to go into tangents about “standard of living” and pharmaceutical industry. The reason I brought it up is to indicate that industry strategies are the same across the board. Anyway, I don’t think anyone will argue with you about the increase in life expectancy since the early 1900s.)

    Please get a grip and realize you’re not alone. A lot of us are being led into an ongoing debate because, well, not “trillions dollars,” but at least over $2,000,000 (as I listed above) are being pumped by oil companies into their representative organizations to keep that debate going.

    Nope, I have no problem with “profit,” but when profit becomes large enough and spent easily enough to fund huge lobbyist organizations, as well as to slant scientific investigations (at the cost of the consumer I might add), then I begin to worry.

    1. gavin

      Ann, fair enough on my misquoting the “evil” corporations, etc. I apologize, and can tell you I wasn’t riled up. Perhaps we can agree that there is too much money being floated around to influence our leaders and policymakers. In fact, that is the very reason everyone should fight like hell against an overarching world government and U.S. federal government. The farther removed our leaders are from us, the smaller our voices become.

  8. Ann

    “The farther removed our leaders are from us, the smaller our voices become.”

    Excuse me, but I think you mean, the farther removed our leaders are from us, in the figurative and political sense, the greater our voices become? That is, if we still have a workable democratic constitution.

    Then, I’ll agree, although I personally don’t want be led by anyone. Sometimes, I wonder though just who our “leaders” are, whether its our government officials or those who lead our supposed “leaders” with dollars and little sense. And, of course, by “us” you’re also including the scientists among us. (But, I’ll bet you’re still looking for that door slamming evidence. It’s ok, I wish you the best.)

    1. gavin

      Ugh. No, I meant what I said. If you think congressional members and the president actually listen to you, then you are deluded. (304,059,724 U.S. population / 435 House seats = 698,987 per representative; 304,059,724 / 100 senate seats = 3,040,597 per senator) It is why the “workable” Constitution divided the country into states–because local “leaders” are closer to their citizens and have greater accountability.

      (And also, the Constitution was not meant to be a representative democracy, per se, as senators originally were not democratically elected but appointed by the governor of each state. The founders designed the country to not be a complete democracy to avoid the tyranny of the majority.)

      If you have a problem with people/corporations buying votes, perhaps you should admonish corrupt elected officials/leaders and the system that allows it, rather than the private citizens who play the game.

      Why do you only question the motives of lobbyists/corporations and not the government? All seek power, but it’s the government that has the ability to be tyrannical and oppressive. I can imagine that the only time you would like to ask questions of your government is when a Republican is president.

  9. Ann

    To answer your question:

    Because our entire government edifice from its electoral process (e.g. during campaigns) to what our supposed representatives vote for (e.g. through the influence of powerful lobby groups) is based on bucks. Everything and more so today than just 30 or 40 years ago. This is not, as I understand it, what some of our forefathers, other than the Federalists and Madison and his cronies, had in mind when they created our supposed democratic constitution, which I think has something to with “people,” as in those among us who have only voices, not big bucks.

    It really doesn’t have much to with individual “corruption” per se. All sides of whatever party line you want to draw agree corruption is wrong.

  10. gavin

    It’s interesting that you should characterize them as “Federalists and Madison and his cronies.” You do realize they are just as legitimate forefathers and architects of the Constitution as the anti-federalists, don’t you? And why use such rhetoric against people who merely have a different philosophical theory than you obviously do?

  11. Ann

    Your description: “All seek power, but it’s the government that has the ability to be tyrannical and oppressive” is exactly why we must look and study differences in our leaders. They, just as you, are quite aware of power, now and back in the late 18th century. After all, people back then were attempting to get out from under monarchical control. They didn’t want to substitute it with another kind of similar control.

    Have you read Madison and his derogatory comments amount the masses? Have you compared him to say, Jefferson? Yes, of course, they were the founders of our country, our “Legitimate forefathers,” but don’t you think we have a duty not to put them altogether in a black box? Just as today you may, if you want, put it all into that same box, and just hope for the best and wait something good to happen. Or, you may, if you like, take it all apart (i.e. analyze) – who said what and why. This is what i tried to do.

    While local control, like in traditional New England village assemblies, is really nice, we today can’t really do that, can we? Villages no longer depending on local mfg and farming, counties depend on other counties, and countries today are in the midst of the international community, whether we like it or not. And, I don’t personally think building up our military at horrendous cost to us, as tax paying citizens, is the best way for our country to get on in the world. Yet, the US is supposed to be a more “enlightened” country? What should we expect in future from other countries? I mean really? Already Russia is building up its military and China? What about Venezuela and allies in So. Amer.? Bush, the elder, said something to the effect that US will in lead the “new world order” in about 1990. Today, we know what he meant, and the world, for the most part, is not pleased. This is why there must be a U.N. We don’t need another world war to get a League of Nations (set up after WWI) or united assembly (after WWII) working again. That history is already written in the blood of countless casualties, 50 million in WWII alone.

  12. gavin

    You err when determining that local control cannot happen today. The Constitution has always provided for interstate commerce. I’m sure you know that one of Congress’s few enumerated powers is to regulate interstate commerce.

    I’m not sure why you started arguing about wars, but please enlighten me as to what George H.W. Bush meant by his “new world order.” If you are implying that he wanted the United States to become an imperial power, please describe what foreign territory that the U.S., under either Bush, has claimed. Bush was advocating for the very international body that you are extolling!

    I have no idea what your argument is for promoting an international body such as the UN. What are you saying? I assume you are advocating putting your freedom into the hands of a privileged few, who could rely on “adjusted” data as a mechanism to control you.

    You should be praying that the IPCC data is faked or erroneous, because it means tragedy will not befall the world as many have predicted. However, the fact that so many AGW proponents have put their heads in the sand leads one to conclude that AGW is not about saving the planet, but rather a mechanism by which to construct a “new world order” where everyone has one chicken.

  13. Ann

    You didn’t explain how I “err[ed]” by saying local control cannot happen today. Inter-state commerce, I understand, and? It seems your supporting my argument, we need over-sight.

    “… please describe what foreign territory that the U.S., under either Bush, has claimed.” Well, I guess the US involvement in a war in Iraq 20 years ago, a war in southeastern Europe (Both political parties in the US follow the same basic foreign policy.) and currently two wars in the Middle East doesn’t mean much? It’s not as if we’re doing all this, in the new world order, spending our tax dollars without expecting something in return. What do you suppose that return is? Currently, the size of our military has surpassed by far that of any other country in the world. There are US troops on just about 1000 military bases in nearly every country, again at our cost, doesn’t that mean anything, if not to you, how about the people in that country or the neighboring country? (This was actually a Soviet strategy before WWII, that is, just set up the troops on a base in a country – talk to people in Latvia, for example – you get a lot forced respect that way.)

    After the election of Morales in Bolivia the US set up a base in neighboring Paraguay. Only in the last year the US set up troops and/or built up 2 bases in Panama, 5 or so in Columbia and 1 in Peru. Why do you suppose the US is doing all this? It’s not that the US wants to claim “foreign territory” but to keep or advance its economic claim or interests already in foreign territory. It is certainly not because the US wants to set diplomatic understanding and cordial relations with Bolivia and Venezuela. Are these smaller countries being aggressive to the US by having democratic elections? And, further, don’t you think these countries have the right to do the same in the U.S., as the U.S. is doing in their countries? In fact, Ecuador has openly stated it would set up a military base in Florida, but the US, of course, has not responded to Ecuador request.

    “… advocating putting your freedom into the hands of a privileged few, who could rely on “adjusted” data as a mechanism” Your correct, in this sense, U.N. is also culpable of accepting moneys, just as the U.S. govt. Also, just as the US govt, it isn’t perfect, but it whole lot better than having another international war to form, yet, another international governing body.

    About IPCC? When talking or doing science, you mustn’t depend one source. This is nature of scientific debate. Issues concerning the climate is a result of a long-term discussion between pro and con since the 1960s. And, you well know the general consensus today among climatologists. (you only have to check wikipedia for 6 critiques concerning IPCC.)

  14. gavin

    You said “While local control, like in traditional New England village assemblies, is really nice, we today can’t really do that, can we? Villages no longer depending on local mfg and farming, counties depend on other counties, and countries today are in the midst of the international community…”

    The Constitution was designed primarily for local control, not centralized control, with the exception of interstate commerce to facilitate trade between the states (villages). Therefore, nothing has changed as it relates to the viability of local control over most policies, with the exception of trade.

    In addition, the country was designed to thwart the tyranny of the masses, which have been responsible for many evils throughout time. Our federal system (local control, limited centralized government), the three branches of the federal government, and the electoral college are all devices to prevent the tyranny of the masses. So yes, masses rightfully should be critiqued. It is for this very reason that our country is not a direct democracy, but a republic.

    I agree with you that the U.S. is in too many foreign countries. But that is not imperialistic, nor is it the new world order of which Bush spoke. Rather, his new world order is that for which you are advocating.

    Please define a “consensus” of people, and explain how that proves anything at all. There was also at one time a consensus that the Earth was flat, that the sun revolved around the Earth, and that life was spurred from spontaneous generation. Please don’t cite to wikipedia to support your scientific assertions.

  15. Ann

    Sorry, for this late reply, but I do have a life and profession.

    Anyway, I brought up “traditional New England village assemblies” or town hall kind of meetings in the first place, because, it seems to me, it was the most direct form of democratic government we’ve had. Everyone in the town, if they wanted, could voice their opinion about some issue during those meetings. Then, a vote would be taken.

    That was a long time ago. It could happen today, I suppose, but generally people today, Americans in particular, are too busy to take time out to go to a several hour long town hall meetings. Why are Americans too busy? Because they work, and you look this up, more hours per year than any other people in any other country in the world, more than in Germany or Japan, who are pretty high up there. Why are Americans working at their jobs more than people in other countries? I don’t really think Americans, although may be a hard working bunch, really want to be working all the time, especially when all their energy at work goes toward making a few wealthy.

    Be as all that may, the reason I brought up Madison is because he and his lot saw Americans as 2 general types: one small group, the “wealth of the nation … the responsible class of men.” And, the rest of Americans, the overwhelming remainder, were simply too busy, too distracted to be bothered, so Madison thought.

    Now, you can decide if you want a truly democratic society or not. You can, if you like, agree with Madison or you can have a democratic society. The constitutional convention and the constitution was not set in stone in the late 1700s. They are only the starting place toward a democratic society.

    Well so much for the US. But not all governments in the world want their populations to have a voice. Some countries are dominated by an elite few (say, for example, today’s Russia or Ukraine, yes even Ukraine). What if those countries develop a military profile similar as the US and become a huge military antagonist to the US? Is war the only solution? It took wars, major wars, when the whole world essentially stopped and fought or was involved indirectly with the war, to develop international organizations such as the UN. Should the US or any country in the world forgo an international organization that checks, through economic controls, or whatever, to hinder the possibility of a major war? The same applies with pollution. As you know there are a lot of wealthy people, who really don’t care about things like “acid rain,” the destruction of the natural habitat of world’s oceans, etc. Things that stretch across national boundaries. So, what are we to do, especially if some of that biological destruction may be harmful to our health, if only in the long run? War? Or an international body that attempts to bring safeguards?

    When you agreed that the US is in too many foreign countries, why do you stop? Why don’t you ask why the US military is in those foreign countries? While asking yourself that question also ask, why is the US doing that with your money, especially since, you said, you didn’t agree with the US being in so many countries. (Your opinion is actually very popular.)

    (I used the word “consensus” in reference to climatologists meaning the majority.)

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