Friday, January 09, 2009

False dilemma on global warming

Everytime I read a book,article, or letter to the editor on global warming, it seems there are two points of view:
1. Global warming is the end of civilization. The seas will rise, the temperature will skyrocket, and we will all die within 100 years. The climate models are perfectly accurate, and anyone who denies the wisdom of Al Gore is either a moron or a bribed tool of the oil companies.

2. Man does not have anything to do with temperature change. Global warming is a hoax. It's all the sun. The scientists who say otherwise are just trying to keep their funding.

It shouldn't surprise anyone reading this blog that I think both these positions are untenable. My stance on global warming is similar to that of Bjorn Lomborg (author of the excellent book Cool It, Mike Hulme (climate scientist), Freeman Dyson (physicist), and some others who don't get a lot of media attention. As Lomborg put it in an interview, there are two misconceptions about global warming: 1. it's a catastrophe, 2. it's a hoax. As a logics professor would say the "debate" is basically a false dilemma.

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