Open Thread #2

I don’t often have open threads as there is quite a lot of slippage in threads on my blog due to very open moderation policy. There are a number of issues around the climate blogosphere:

I note that McIntyre is bashing on about the UAE and the statute of limitations. WUWT is on about a visual discrepancy in ice extent. On that line of discussion — sea ice —  Tamino has a post up about Watts and sea ice extent that is worth reading,  Judith Curry has a post up about an “extended peer community” to which I say BALDERDASH! I am not Gavin Schmidt’s peer nor Michael Mann’s peer nor  a peer of Jones, nor Bradley nor Briffa nor any of the climate scientists who do the actual science and I challenge most of the rest of us who are not working scientists in the climate field and who do not have a science graduate education to claim they are their peers. To claim that a bunch of bloggers with little or no science background are “science peers” is hubris! You already know my view of Post-Normal Science —  I call it “Pseudo-Sort of Science… and apologies to Willard, but I don’t much truck nor trade with the post-normal post-modern crowd. DC has more interesting info up on the WR, and this time, about red noise, which according to McI and Wegman, the de-centred PCA mines for. Eli has a post up about Wegman, providing bunnies who are too lazy to read the Mashey Report a primer or “Dummies Guide”. Keith Kloor at Collide-a-Scape has a post up about denial and the abolition analogy that  has garnered some attention.

Have at it. I’ll discuss pretty much anything related.

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About Policy Lass

Exploring skeptic tales.

40 Responses to “Open Thread #2”

  1. Seems to me Judith Curry’s “extended peer review” will make climate science one big online poll. It would reward weight of numbers, not weight of evidence.

  2. Forget the “Pseudo-Sort of Science”, it’s full blown “Pseudo” now that Steven Goddard’s doing work for SPPI. Hot Topic has the story, and the corrections, including the usual comments by the kid himself.
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/buffoons-in-arms-goddard-joins-monckton-at-sppi/

  3. Do you ever feel as if you’ve slipped accidentally into an alternate universe where the opposite is true? I read James Delingpole and I wonder if the weight of stupidity on the part of the denialati has caused a rip in the space-time continuum and we’ve all fallen into a black hole only to be spewed out into an alternate universe where up is down and left is right…

  4. It is simply not worth devoting any more time or effort to this politically motivated document. It is entirely characteristic of their kind: intemperately expressed, biased, selective, at odds with observed reality, and lacking in any serious quantitative or scientific analysis. This is not science: it is the petulant, self-indulgent politics of the kindergarten, and the policy makers will no doubt have the good sense to disregard it.

    Your starter for ten: written by whom, of whom, and why is it true – but not perhaps in the sense the author intended?

  5. This is good watts stuff:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/30/might-arctic-warming-lead-to-catastrophic-methane-releases/#comment-519839

    Max Hugoson says:
    October 30, 2010 at 5:24 pm
    650,000 Years in Ice Cores?

    I say B.S. What ice core would have existed that many years ago?…When one considers the RATE at which the ice accumulates both in the Northern Hemisphere (say about 6″ per year, Greenland), unless there are periodic melt offs, this would be 350,000′ of ice. I’m IMMEDIATELY suspicious when I hear a number as this. That would be 70 Miles high.

    and this is Monkton at his best

  6. Ok, I had to defend Foucault, now I have to defend Ravetz. Ok, here we go.

    Here is Jeremy Ravetz explaining his basic motivation:

    > The basic motivation for our design of post-normal science was to help maintain the health and integrity of science under the new conditions in which it now operates.

    Here is Jeremy Ravetz pinpointing the main cause of misunderstanding:

    > I understood ‘normal science’ as a picture of what happens in science education, where almost all students learn by precept that for every problem there is just one and only one solution, expressed to several significant digits. I now realise that I have made a very big mistake in assuming that my readers on the blogs understand this about Kuhn; mainly they assume that ‘normal’ science is something that reflective, self-critical scientists like themselves do.

    This is an important reminder: post-normal does not designate an historical concept. The “post” is here conceptual: it comes “after” Kuhn’s concept of normal science. There might never have been a normal science, except perhaps during a brief time when Kuhn designed his model, on his blackboard. Post-normal science is not abnormal science: it is what science always has been, in a way.

    Admittingly, “post-normal” was not very a well chosen term. But we can come to understand what Ravetz means, if we take the time to read his stuff. The whole article by Ravetz is worth the read. Rarely do we find a philosopher telling his story with so much intimacy:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/22/jerry-ravetz-part-2-answer-and-explanation-to-my-critics/

    It really is a pity that the term “post-normal” has became some kind of an insult. Judith Curry has developed the refrain. Even von Storch barely understands it.

    People who would like to criticize Kuhn should beware that his work stands on logical grounds. His professor was Gustav Hempel; his direct competitors were Carnap, Quine, Popper, Lakatos, and many, many others. This appears easy, but really is somewhat formal.

    **The Structure of Scientific Revolution** might be one of the most cited book of all times. But there are so many great works of epistemology around that there is no need to criticize what does not coincide with our taste. Those who prefer to buy local may like to know that Ian Hacking teached for a while at Toronto… His way to make use of Foucault’s archeological method is very interesting.

    • Well, you’re a brave and dedicated man to defend Ravetz, Willard, and its only because I respect you that I give your defense of his work consideration. I have no doubt Ravetz is an honorable man who is sincere in his approach to the study of science. His sincerity doesn’t mean he is right.

      I am not a professor of philosophy, history or science but I think he has created a straw man in his portrayal of science and has then hacked it to pieces, replacing it with his conception of post-normal science, as if science has somehow failed or misrepresented itself and needs correction. To the contrary, I think science represents itself quite well, but it is politics and it is economics and how the two are familiar bedfellows that misrepresent themselves. The fact that PNS is being trumpeted by climate skeptics and denialati on blogs such as WUWT is almost, on its own, enough to make me write it off out of hand, but luckily I didn’t need to. A review of several works on the subject provided more than enough ammo. I find it irrelevant and self-indulgent. Like I wrote in my post on the subject — PNS is akin to fending off a cyclone with an umbrella.

      The problem is not with science or even uncertainty in science. Scientists are very aware of and able to deal with uncertainty. It is politics / power and how those within the two realms use uncertainty in science to further their own ends. That is the problem. The real wicked problem is that those in power have enough power to define the terms, shape the discourse, and influence the political process to their own ends. They do it with $$$ and the influence it buys. It’s really quite crass in the end. It’s banal.

      That’s at least how I see it. The denialist abuse of science as played out in the tobacco wars and climate change denial are exemplars.

  7. Extended Peer Community.
    The general public may not have the technical expertise, but they can certainly help spot and root out corruption and bias, of which there is clearly no shortage in Climatology. Peer-review is a noble enterprise, but can itself be corrputed and reduced to pal-review.
    The era of believing that scientists are more honest than anyone else is long gone. The Extended Peer Community is now a necessity, not a luxury or frivolity.

  8. The real wicked problem is that those in power have enough power to define the terms, shape the discourse, and influence the political process to their own ends. They do it with $$$ and the influence it buys. It’s really quite crass in the end. It’s banal.

    Yes indeed, the dominance of political funding in climatology entirely explains how climate alarmism has come to be the ‘consensus’ amongst its lackeys, since alarmism plays right into the hands of statism and politicization.

    • Yes indeed, the dominance of political funding in climatology entirely explains how climate alarmism has come to be the ‘consensus’ amongst its lackeys, since alarmism plays right into the hands of statism and politicization.

      Hogwash. Please cease and desist the statism bogeyman bologna. You have continually failed to provide any evidence of this claim and so that’s your final warning. Next time I’ll have to moderate your posts.

  9. > That would be 70 Miles high.

    Ouch… doesn’t get much better. Someone tell this bloke that they have actually drilled there, and the annual layers do get thinner going down… next lesson: ice flow.

    Grabbing from the cornucopia:

    http://www.igsoc.org/journal/55/191/t07J077.pdf

  10. > statism

    Punksta, you’re a bore. Get another hobby already. I suggest writing fiction, so you can legitimately make up things out of whole cloth, and leave poor honest scientists alone.

  11. > I think science represents itself quite well, but it is politics and it is economics and how the two are familiar bedfellows that misrepresent themselves.

    My own impression is that scientists are not trained to reflect on their practice, but to produce technical and sometimes theorical results.

    There are so many misrepresentions of Science that everyone should stop justifying what they do by invoking that it’s for Science. Talking about Science can only lead to moralism. It’s obvious when we see the term “science betterment”.

    An idea is never a good cover to do blatantly stupid things.

    • My own impression is that scientists are not trained to reflect on their practice, but to produce technical and sometimes theorical results.

      It is an impression that many in the humanities have, I think, and not without some merit. For many philosophers, at least on the part of my spouse who teaches H&POS, modern science is its bastard child who needs a good caning. 😉 Of course, he has no science training…

      From my experience, scientists are concerned with the same things most of us who work for a living are — career, reputation, contribution to their fields, pay, status. They are human. What distinguishes them from non-scientists is the methodology. The scientific method. It’s true that a science education may not always include the history of science, the philosophy of science and the sociology of science. Scientists may not have a critical understanding of science in history or society and may be unreflective on their practice vis a vis the greater world, but I don’t honestly know if that would make a whit of difference other than to infuriate philosophers of science less. The practice — the methodology — is so successful that there is little impetus to reflect on it, at least in terms of getting results. For the most part — for the greatest part — science and its methodology and the processes in place to ensure its practicers’ fidelity, works.

      Certainly, it’s not perfect because it is conducted by mere mortals. 😉 There is still bias and corruption and error. One only need read science news to find evidence of that. Science research does reflect the zeitgeist because science is a tool for producing knowledge and usually, we seek knowledge that is useful to us now. I taught a course on scientific racism once — a particularly odious period in the history of science in modernity so there is ample evidence that the methodology can be turned to the interests of oppression and domination. More recently, I have done research on problems in the pharmaceutical industry and the far-too-friendly relationship between some scientists and corporations and the consequences for the science they do — and for medicine itself.

      In the case of climate science, at least in my view, the science is not the problem. The uncertainty in science is not the problem, at least not for scientists. They are quite clear about uncertainty.

      The problem is that the science is inconvenient. Given the reality of a globalized political economy that is totally dependent on fossil fuels, it is just too damn inconvenient to accept the science. While an inadequate analogy, asking the world to accept and address global warming is like asking a heroin addict and the heroin supplier to decide if the world should stop growing poppies.

      One need look only at the case of the ozone layer to see a parallel whose similarities and differences are instructive. When one extracts away the similarities, the differences are three-fold: unlike with CFCs, we have no easy and quick alternative at this time to carbon-based energy. Second, those who control the fossil fuel industry currently have more of a stranglehold over the political realm than those who controlled the production of CFCs. Finally, practically every nook and corner of our modern industrial globalized society is premised on fossil fuels at some point, whereas with CFCs, while they were important, they were not the fulcrum for the whole.

      Anyway, long story short, it would be great if scientists had a better education in the history and logic and philosophy of science. I find it to be incredibly fascinating and instructive. However, I don’t know if it would make a difference in the long run for scientists to have read Rorty or Popper or Kuhn. YMMV.

  12. Climate skepticism is no stranger to incoherence, of course, but I’m struck by the following contradiction. When surveys show that an overwhelming consensus of climate scientists accept the current paradigm, skeptics are quick to remind us that scientific truth is not established by democratic processes. On the other hand, when scientists refute or otherwise dismiss criticism that is ill-informed, we hear all this guff about “post-normal science” and an “extended peer community”, in which everyone’s opinion should respectfully be considered and weighed equally, no matter how daft or subjective that opinion may be.

  13. When people are polarized, like the deniers are nowdays, they tend to become unable to attain critical thinking skills. WTF is feeding them with daily garbage that reinforces their dogmas.

    So, if you try to talk climate science with them, they just can’t get it in their brains. It is of little use to talk science to them, when they are likely to reject evolution, or when they believe in world-government conspiracies.

    My guide in dealing with deniers is a) try to see if they are WTF puppies, in which case they are hopeless, and b) do not go into a science conversation if they are clueless a la Monckton.

    The whole denier front is manufactured, just for the sake of a few corporations that want to keep destroying the environment. That’s the message.

  14. WTF is feeding them with daily garbage that reinforces their dogmas.

    WTFIUWT – the daily fertilizer feeding the growth of global warming denialism…

    I like it!

  15. Susann, the sad thing is that the global warming denialism on WTF is in reality just one symptom of a much bigger disease: that of chosing ideology over facts. Punksta is a very good example: he has an ideology, and therefore anything he sees must be fit into that ideology. Whenever there are facts that contradict that ideology, they are either made up, or are to be twisted such that they fit his ideology. These people are completely impossible to change. At the same time they are the useful idiots of the ideologue: fanatical people who will do a lot to achieve what the ideologue wants. And when that has been achieved they are also the first to be discarded (often violently), as they become a liability later in the process.

  16. For many philosophers, at least on the part
    of my spouse who teaches H&POS, modern science is its bastard child
    who needs a good caning. 😉 Of course, he has no science
    training…

    You’re joking, right, about the no science training? (No, don’t answer that.) And H&POS actually stands for history and philosophy of science, right? Not for hubris and pieces of s**t 🙂
    Seriously, my feeling is that the only people competently able to teach and research this stuff — and teaching and research always go together — are practicing scientists that choose to specialize into this as a second career. Only the best — i.e., not so much the most intelligent or math-gifted, but those with a capability for breadth, gifted generalists — can make this work in a way that is worth doing. POS should be meta relative to science, not the other way around.

  17. You’re joking, right, about the no science training? (No, don’t answer that.) And H&POS actually stands for history and philosophy of science, right? Not for hubris and pieces of s**t

    Come on, GP — didn’t you know that philosophy is the king of the world! It doesn’t need to take science training. It’s operating at such a high level of abstraction that the petty annoyances of reality are mere distractions.

    Seriously, though, I agree that one would think teaching the history and philosophy of science would be improved by having an actual science education, but apparently it is not necessary. One can be a philosopher and specialize in science. You have to remember that science and philosophy divorced several centuries ago and I think the divorce was not amicable. 😉

  18. 1. The two versions of the acronym suit me very well;

    2. I agree that teachers should be gifted scientific generalists, but we must recognize that the university as it is produce the exact opposite;

    3. Philosophers are kings of their very little worlds, nowadays, on of the many worlds there are, if we can admit such useful fantasy.

    4. As far as generalities are concerned, I believe that teachers should sing in choirs, take acting lessons (at least stand-up comic) and learn to repair a bicycle.

    4. The history I recall was that Philosophy kicked Science out when he was more than 30; it was the first and only time she was lenient with one of her children.

    4. I know there are three fours in my list.

    5. http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/10/willard-on-curry.html

  19. I forgot:

    6. For the life of me, I will never defend Rorty, in your blog or elsewhere.

  20. “New peer reviewed paper says,’there appear to have been periods of ice free summers in the central Arctic Ocean’ in the early Holocene about 10-11,000 years ago.” (WUWT,Oct30,2010)

    “In the central Arctic Ocean”……….from the paper gets a WUWTian translation into “might very well have had ice free summers”. The accompanying illustration shows how the Arctic Ocean “might look” without sea ice.

    WUWT-might science seems like a strange way of making denier arguments. Next, might ice fly?

    Is Wikipedia safe for skeptics now?……….Anthony then introduces a graph from Wikipedia. It is not sourced from a research paper. The graph was prepared by Robert A. Rohde at Global Warming Art.

    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations_Rev_png

    It provides an instructive compilation of eight data sources, and has some reasonableness for the most recent 6000 years. But there’s none at all for the 10-11,000 years BP of this discussion. This is a good graph, well qualified, but inappropriately used.
    “…the average shown here should be understood as only a rough, quasi-global approximation to the history of the Holocene…”

    Monkey wrench……….The problems extend beyond this inappropriate reading of global temperatures from the graph.

    There is one data set (light blue) from central Greenland that would represent
    Arctic temperatures. In the 10-11,0000 BP period it is increasing at twice the rate of the other data sets.

    So we are led to a conclusion that can be legitimately drawn from this graph and that is a further impediment to Anthony’s argument. Whatever is happening in the Arctic is LOCAL.

    Paywalls……….From my perspective (I have difficulty reading WUWT comments) this appears to be another not-paying-at-the-paywall article that permits WUWT post-abstract creativity, like this cherrypicking of Holocene graphs.

    Anthony’s response would be a reprise of his ~’isn’t it awful that we have to pay for it’ meme.

    http:wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/23/busting-the-science-paywall-support-for-public-access-to-research-swells-you-can-get-involved/

    I find it surprising that Anthony can’t get a paper that is behind a paywall. Any university researcher, teacher, or student can get free access and email it out. Granted I only know 3 of 3, but I expect it is widespread, that a local can walk into a state university library and email out such a paper for free. The expected ‘fair use’ guidelines should be broad enough to include, “I don’t believe this paper. Will you post a blog about it.”

    Anyway, in an effort to improve the dialog I would propose that we find some AGW academics who would offer to provide Anthony with the full text of any behind-the-paywall papers he wants to write about. Certainly ‘fair use’ must cover the improvement of all the reader hours spent on a blogpost like this.

    As a last resort, just among the AGWers who’ve perused this WUWT article, I think we could raise enough money to start a WUWT finance-the-full-text fund.

    Would “ice free summers in the central Arctic Ocean” still become, “ice free summers ten thousand years ago”?

  21. > 4. I know there are three fours in my list.

    Traitor

  22. > The problem is that the science is inconvenient. Given the reality of a globalized political economy that is totally dependent on fossil fuels, it is just too damn inconvenient to accept the science.

    There’s also a deep, underlying political issue. Coal, nuclear, hydro can only function as mighty centralised sources of power – transmitted and distributed by governments and businesses around the world.

    Wind and solar can operate the same way. They can also release far-flung towns and villages from dependence on a remote and unreliable source of essential services.

    I think some of the less appealing governments around the world will maintain the centralised power station concept – not just for the ribbon-cutting photo opportunities but for the continuing control a centralised power system can give them.

  23. willard :
    > I think science represents itself quite well, but it is politics and it is economics and how the two are familiar bedfellows that misrepresent themselves.
    My own impression is that scientists are not trained to reflect on their practice, but to produce technical and sometimes theorical results.

    You would be wrong.

  24. Here is Jeremy Ravetz pinpointing the main cause of misunderstanding:
    > I understood ‘normal science’ as a picture of what happens in science education, where almost all students learn by precept that for every problem there is just one and only one solution, expressed to several significant digits.

    Ravitz is insanely wrong. This describes science education up to maybe secondary school or the first year of university. Science education beyond that emphasizes how one can analyze a problem from a variety of viewpoints and by combining these reach an richer understanding. For example, in teaching general chemistry, even in the first semester, Eli goes through five or six different models of binding and where they are appropriate. Appropriate captures ease of use, depth of application and more.

    Ravitz is doing the orc thing, one theory to rule them all. Sorry Willard, that is very postnormal.

  25. > This describes science education up to maybe secondary school or the first year of university.

    Ravetz says it’s the way he “pictures” Kuhn’s concept of normal science. This picture does not “describe” Kuhn’s concept. Why did he express it in the past tense, by the way?

    Describing needs a picture, but also a bit more. The point of Ravetz was to share is intuition of what is normal science. This concept of normal science belongs to Kuhn, whereas you are targetting Ravetz.

    Here is start:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/thomas-kuhn/

    Read more, Eli. Practice makes perfect.

    • This may be Ravetz’s interpretation of Kuhn’s concept of “normal science” but it seemed more like a caricature than a faithful representation or even insightful interpretation.

      Kuhn, in “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” describes NS as follows:

      “…research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for further practice” (Kuhn 10).

      It is closely linked to his concept of “paradigm” – “examples of actual scientific practice – examples which include law, theory, application, and instrumentation together – provide models from which spring particular coherent traditions of scientific research” (Kuhn 10).

      It is true that students of a science are schooled in the paradigm that represents the current period of normal science, even if it is undergoing a period of revolution, for it takes time for a new equilibrium to be established. However, only students at the lowest levels are taught in any way close to Ravetz’s caricature of unquestioning supplicant being force-fed dogma.

      In part, that is because science is highly technical with its own language, methods, tools, etc. It’s a lot to learn and takes years to absorb the foundational knowledge and concepts in order to actually conduct meaningful research.

      I had a science education at the undergrad level and then studied science from a sociological perspective in grad school. Ravetz’s portrayal of Kuhn and science is barely recognizable to me. But is does resemble that in postmodern views of science.

  26. Ordinary Fool: The paper says something like “likely ice free summers [in large parts] of the central Arctic Ocean” instead of “ice free summers in the central Arctic Ocean” by WTF.

    The issue with WTF is that he is pulling an Andrew Breitbart with his every new post. Would you take his word with the analysis?

    The paper concludes that the Arctic was largely ice-free because they found drift wood at certain areas. Wood that is normally found in Siberia was found as drift wood at Greenland or North America. So it should have floated there. Who knows?
    Anyway, the specific issue of the journal has lots of interesting articles which needs time to digest.

    I get the impression that others send e-mails to WUWT to consider for publication. And Watts publishes them with his own name.

  27. > This may be Ravetz’s interpretation of Kuhn’s concept of “normal science” but it seemed more like a caricature than a faithful representation or even insightful interpretation.

    I’d settle for caricature. It looks like one alright. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind being told he’s caricaturing at that moment. Ravetz’ tone is personal. He’s confiding.

    I find it funny, both because it has a grain of truth, and because it seems to show that Ravetz has no idea about where he has landed. He got dissed (his own word) by WTFIUWW’s crowd too.

    Ravetz seemed that have spent a lot of time thinking about Kuhn’s concept of normal science. Something’s wrong with this concept, and he smells it. He’s not alone. Not only postmoderns dislike a conception of science that sounds very beige.

    Here is an almost random example:

    http://books.google.ca/books?hl=fr&lr=&id=Vutfm5n6LKYC&oi=fnd&pg=PA25&dq=against+kuhn%27s+concept+of+normal+science&ots=HkPLXuZG2O&sig=z-6p8Oi2bJ6Wc98NVeiw1CiiXzM#v=onepage&q&f=false

    It outlines conflicts between Kuhn and Popper, both theorical and rhetorical. I’m not sure the argument are still holding, but I like the what the story is being told. Very personal, in a way. Here again.

    At the very least, the third footnote is worth reading 😛

    PS: I had graduate education in cognitive science. I’m never sure if it counts as science. Does it count?

    • Cognitive science? Pshaw! Psychology masquerading as science.

      All joshin aside, I view the whole hard / soft science kerfuffles with amusement. What is hard? What is soft? What us pseudo? As someone with a background in both, I feel somewhat transgressive of both.

      Kuhn is valuable but not without flaws. I think he is right about many things but wrong about others. They don’t negate each other and I find his whole conception of science to be very useful in understanding conflicts and contradictions in science.

      I think his ideas have been used in a rather ham-fisted manner by crackpots hoping to write off science they find inconvenient. One hears references to Kuhn coming from skeptics but when I read such references, the use seems simplistic and polemical.

  28. Don’t knock cognitive science. If you saw what passes for “knowledge” about learning in education faculties and among education bureaucracies and much of the teaching fraternity, cognitive science is like a breath of fresh air.

  29. willard :
    I forgot:
    6. For the life of me, I will never defend Rorty, in your blog or elsewhere.

    Is the implicit Ironism intentional or otherwise?

  30. Luminous beauty,

    There are lots of authors I’m not sure I will try to defend, but I am quite sure I will never try to defend Rorty (mentioned in #13), or, for that matter, Derrida.

    Way too sophisticated for my Realist mind.

  31. I recently asked some libertarians for their proposed solutions to global climate disruption. Thought I’d share and get thoughts from others.

    “Most libertarian recommendations would be negative, rather than positive: the government should stop meddling with the market, rather than initiating new programs. Allow the price of fuel to rise by ceasing to subsidize related ventures, concerns and activities, such as exploration and drilling on federal lands, auto company bailouts, rural electrification, and ensuring Americans access to petroleum through diplomatic and military (mis)adventure. Stop subsidizing home ownership, especially in the suburbs: suburban sprawl = commuters = cars/congestion = CO2. Relax regulations on nuclear power, especially the more modern reprocessor models. Stop federal subsidies for highways and (especially) highway construction, making all interstates into toll roads run by localized, self-funding highway authorities (a true libertarian would say privatize here) that set prices at whatever the market will bear. All this would reduce overall fossil fuel consumption by driving up prices, making mass transit and alternative fuels more attractive and economically viable.

    I have grave reservations about this one, but have heard it bandied about. States and Congress could pass laws, if necessary, ensuring that fossil fuel-producing and -burning industries, like other polluters whose products and processes damage the environment, are held responsible in court for damages caused by global warming (translation: the mother of all class action suits).”

    • To understand how well libertarian ideas work, look to Greenspan – Ayn Rand acolyte extrordinaire– and the derivatives market…

      Capitalism wouldn’t even be possible without boatloads of laws and regulations. Libertarians fail to acknowledge this fact. They are quite happy with all the laws and regulations that allow capitalism to exist and let capital accumulate and move freely etc. but don’t want regulations and laws that benefit the rest of us. Greenspan was even against regulations against fraud in the market, preferring to let the “invisible hand” take care of it through consumer choice. Yeah, riiiiight…

      Idiocy.

  32. What is the simplest safeguarding strategy in this litigious world for self employed businessmen?

  33. What is the best doable way of obtaining protected from third party law suits?

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