All we have to fear is fear itself

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Fear, Complexity and Environmental Management in the 21st Century is the title of a November 6 speech given by author Michael Crichton on [among other things] linear thought and deliberate fear mongering. He begins with the "global disaster" Chernobyl and expounds upon a theme found in his book State of Fear. We are being fed opinion as if it were pure Science.

He makes note of the many times the so-called experts have been wrong about the end of the world.

People can say that Evangelicals preach the End Times but they have got nothing on the Media and certain members of the politicized grant driven community of Scientists.

via Roger L. Simon. I agree with Roger. Bravo.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

The eco-nuts make the jihadists look like boy scouts.

chuck said...

Terrye,

The link to Feynman's Cargo Cult Science that was mentioned in the comments at Roger's is worth adding.

Ed onWestSlope said...

As an exercise to expose the madness, start a list of the impending disasters, starting about 1960 (I was 11 then and don't remember much before then). Then highlight the ones which actually occurred. Make a separate list of the actual disasters (big earthquakes, big storms, volcanoes etc.).

I must question what planet these people are on. Certainly not the 3rd out from Sol.

RogerA said...

Terrye--who people think are experts really arent; those folks who make those judgments have no idea, for example, that this planet we live on has gone thru enumerable cycles of heat and cold; long before humans have been on the planet, and, I suspect long after. These same people have NO idea of precession (the wobbling if you will of earth on its axis, or the power of sun spot cycles). These are idiots who somehow think that humans are more important than they are, forgetting that dinosaurs were much longer lived than this piddling species called homo sapiens.

Modern "science" leaves much to be desired in our world--I say this not to be a luddite; but for those who claim to have science on their side to back up, with evidence, their clearly erroneous opinions.

truepeers said...

Chrichton: Because the diagram implies that things are simple: Kill the wolves, and save the elk. Move the grizzlies, and avoid the lawyers. And on, and on. It’s this simplistic, cause-and-effect thinking that must go

-yes indeed; but easier said than done. The problem is twofold: 1) the complexity of causality in natural systems on which human inputs do have some effect. 2) the largely minsunderstood (as every scapegoating invocation of "root causes" reminds us) nature of causality in human systems which lead to those inputs...

Having studied academic history writing for a number of years, I am confident in arguing that almost every professional historian has a much weaker understanding of causation, of human historicity, than need be. The best ideas on the nature of historicity are simply ignored, because to study or adapt them would be so much work, bothering so many self-interested colleagues, that it would be career jeopardy for most people to do so. Change in such matters can only happen slowly, one small exchange at a time, as the mysteries of faith and courage and, perhaps more importantly, the inevitable slow erosion of all existing methods, works away.

Indeed, when we have better accounts of how faith in our humanity and its ethical evolution is central to how things do indeed change - rather than the current dogmas which believe in materialistic explanations (economic, geographical) or narrow human self-interests (knowledge/power conspiracies) - then we will get a little further in the trans-historical human struggle to get beyond fear. It will happen; sooner or later? it all depends on us.

As one of the better French intellectuals, Michel Serres, puts its: the great myth of science is of a science that is freed from all myth. To put it all too simply: the question is whether any attempt to give narrative meaning to natural processes can free itself from the consequences of the very human need to understand in story, a need that is mythological to the extent it cannot explain itself or its origins.

Buddy Larsen said...

'Peers, take a look at Alexandra's Contest, some of the best thinkers in the 'sphere are showing up in her comments section naming their 10 favorite Worst Americans. Be a delight to see what the various Flares would come up with. Stephen den beste just named two of the biggest Do-Gooders in modern history--Rachel Carson and Jeremy Rifkin.

You being an thinker on 'paradox', will get a kick outta the reasoning.

Syl said...

We're making the same mistake that the environmentalists are making and not treating environmentalism itself as a complex system.

What caused Rachel Carson's ideas to take hold? What made people so susceptible starting in the fifties and sixties?

Some hints. Something small in everyone's living room. Something big and round associated with a giant leap. A Frenchman and a boat.

Buddy Larsen said...

TV, and Jacques Costeau, #'s 1 and 3?

Syl said...

Moon landing--giving us the photos of earth showing its beauty and vulnerability as just a tiny object in endless space.

Buddy Larsen said...

Ahhh...yes. Very good! 1969...geez...we went to the Moon in 1969 !

truepeers said...

Buddy,

well if Rachel Carson is really to blame for banning DDT, then maybe she should be on the list. Rifkin seems too inconsequential to me...

Anyway, I noted your approval of: "T.S.Eliot once remarked that the worst thing about most people who do evil things is that they are not "man enough to be dammed", that they are simply indifferently conscious of the moral nature of their choices."

That's true enough. But it got me thinking about people who do evil things because they know they're damned and because they're also man enough to seek grace, and then go out and balls up the search for grace too...

Buddy Larsen said...

Makes ya wonder where it really starts. You wouldn't be far wrong to say that evil people are angry people, and that the source of the anger is probably somewhere in childhood. If we have to become a big one-world state, we ought to start with licensing parents.

truepeers said...

Well we used to, it was called a marriage license. That concept has been given a twist lately in the search for grace. (:-

Syl said...

Hey--what's this with root causes being parents? How do you explain siblings of evil people, even children of divorced people, who turn out just fine?

Anyway, the environmental movement was taken over by the left...and, as usual, they went too far. Shrinkwrapped had something about giving utopians an inch and they demand a mile in their pursuit of 'perfection'.

Buddy Larsen said...

And that's the tragedy--that the nutjobs have managed to discredit the entire issue.

"Environmentalist" had a differnt meaning before the takeover by the hard-cases.

who, me? said...

Given the human lust for attention and power, what better way to get it than to run around screaming "the sky is falling!" At least until all credibility is gone.

I postulate that much of the emotional dysfunction we will see in the future is related to schools in which every lesson to young students was an unfounded and often cynical "Those evil people are poisoning the earth. You must do something about it."

And this comment thread settles it. Truepeers rocks.

Knucklehead said...

TP does rock, doesn't he.

Re: the environmentalists... I have some minor level of respect for the "best intentions". Rivers that, in my youth, nobody wanted to be anywhere near have been recovered to the point of having thriving wildlife populations. I daily see various birds of prey that were nowhere to be found when I was younger. These are good things and yet another benefit of healthy and wealthy economies. Lousy economies never get around to committing resources to clean up the mistakes of the past or pay attention to the environmental damage economic activity can wreak.

But my patience runs thin with the morons who seem to believe that our earth, our solar system, and the universe we exist in is a steady-state machine. Our planet is a lump of molten stuff spinning on an axis while orbiting a freakin' star fercryinoutloud! Mother Earth is not pissed off and producing natural disasters - she's just doing her thing the same as she always has and she don't give a rat's pattoot about us.

Humans or no humans weather patterns will change. Our piddling little fascination with "records" - hottest, coldest, windiest, stormiest, etc. - has not meaning within timescales longer than a handful of human generations.

Buddy Larsen said...

Not only that, but *we* are part of nature, *too*.

Buddy Larsen said...

I weant to see the purists living without a single product made by someone not in the village, using raw materials that don't alter some subsystem, and heavens-to-betsy, no needing of transport.

Peter UK said...

Do you mean this? Iowahawk

ex-democrat said...

not sure why this came to mind, but it did:
http://users.htcomp.net/weis/meaning4eeyore.html

truepeers said...

Heh thanks friends. Let's Roll!

Buddy Larsen said...

Ugh, Iowahawk, heap big FUNNY. Me like. Laff much.

Ex, link goes to some shopping page. You need talk Grok, see Iowahawk.

Peter UK said...

Buddy,
What is amusing about all these primitivists,is that they think they would be running things when we all go back to nature,they won't,somebody like Tookie will,they will be slaves..or worse.

Buddy Larsen said...

Absolutely true. i think the academic/primitivist/totalist sees his role in Utopia as "courtier"--privileged, comfortable, without challenge other than the parlor games of court behavior.

sorta like it is now, really, for them. They've won their niche, already, in fact.

But, the new millenium apparently becoming a time of cleaning up (re-destroying Sodom, Gomorrah, and the Tower of Babel), they're beginning to stir, sniff the wind, and twitch their worried antennae.