Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cement consent spins green wheels

The Green Party is very disappointed with an interim decision indicating support for cement giant Holcim’s plans to build a massive cement plant at Weston, near Oamaru.

SOLO-NZ's Lindsay Perigo however is delighted. Any "disappointment," he says, is wholly and solely due to "overwhelming opposition to this plant and to any form of progress, by the Green Party."

You can read his spirited response to the decision and to the Greens' hand wringing over the decision here: Holcim Decision a Breath of Unpolluted Air.

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42 Comments:

Anonymous DenMT said...

I usually enjoy reading Perigo's burble for all of it's ridiculously over-the-top bombast, but sometimes he reeeally needs to get his hand off it.

"Who knows, with the added demand for teachers, they might bring in a good one who knows better than to use nouns like 'impact' as verbs?!"

Three words, Lindsay: Buy. A. Dictionary.

Wherever you stand on the issue of climate change, it doesn't take a specialist knowledge of the subject area to know that the view 'humans are having no measurable impact of the climate' is held by an extraodinarily slim, dwindling group of nutters. We can argue that the change will be small, it's not worth the money to mitigate, etcetera ad nauseum, but Perigo's simplistic point-blank denial says a lot about the privilege of politics over common sense.

DenMT

11/29/2007 09:29:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything that dissappoints the greens may be seen as a victory for freedom and prosperity

EXOCET

11/30/2007 07:35:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

DenMT

That was very naughty of you!

Not so long ago, when you were asked to demonstrate some proofs for global warming you retreated into a morass of politics and faith to defend your irrationalities. Now here you are attacking some guy for appearing to argue in exactly the manner as you argue (or rather you are claiming he is behaving in this way). One would expect you to hold yourself to the same standards that you hold others. Surely that's not asking too much, is it?

Cheers

LGM

11/30/2007 09:10:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

"Ridiculously over-the-top bombast?"

Funny, Den. That's usually what I think of most of the Green party's press releases.

:)

11/30/2007 09:57:00 am  
Anonymous DenMT said...

LGM: If you want a succinct statement of my own position on anthropogenic global warming, here it is:

I have read enough of the science to form what I believe is a fairly informed opinion. I am NOT of the opinion that the 'science is settled' as I have frequently said in comments here, however I do believe a very convincing case has been made that humans are affecting the climate, and that it is in our best interests to do something about it. I don't think this is a 'morass of politics and faith,' more just prudent and rational weighing of the options.

I am going to politely decline to 'prove' anything to anyone, as it can't be done, and there is a mountain of information out there on all the internets. As much as I would love to get dragged into some kind of link-providing war of sources, suffice to say that the differences between my own position and Perigo's are stark.

I don't have my hands over my ears.

My position is not firmly entrenched with no hope ever climbing down (I am constantly revising my own picture of the emerging situation).

I like to think that I have a bit more levity than the froth-mouthed one when it comes to climate change debate (or anything to with the Looming Islamic Apocalypse).

DenMT

11/30/2007 10:12:00 am  
Anonymous They're Anti-Industrialists, You Know said...

You know, I find it incredibly amusing that the Greens oppose the construction of a cement plant, yet at the same time they are fierce promoters of so called "renewable energy" -- and the two primary forms of renewable energy, hydro and wind power, are great guzzlers of concrete.

Go figure.

Every wind turbine built can use up to 1000 tonnes of concrete per turbine -- and that has to come from somewhere. Every hydro dam built uses millions of tonnes of concrete -- and that has to come from somewhere.

So frankly in opposing this cement plant, the Greens show they are either 1) unhinged, which is possible; or 2)they simply want to eat their cake and have it too, which is likely; or 3) like many other analysts they realise that "renewable energy" is a total sham that will never be able to replace serious energy production, and that calling for more renewables while opposing all other forms of energy production is simply a smokescreen for their desire to strangle industry.

11/30/2007 11:12:00 am  
Anonymous Why am I bothering? said...

The Greens are bonkers, but then again so is Perigo, the lunatic right and the lunatic left, a match made in heaven I say.

11/30/2007 02:13:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if all are lunatic (left and right), why are you bothering? Surely that makes you a lunatic?

LGM

11/30/2007 05:15:00 pm  
Anonymous Why am I bothering? said...

I didn't say all now, did I?
But I guess it depends on your frame of reference.

11/30/2007 06:41:00 pm  
Blogger Brendan said...

DenMT: “…I do believe a very convincing case has been made that humans are affecting the climate, and that it is in our best interests to do something about it.”

That sounds like a reasonable position to me. As you say, a scientific theory cannot be ‘proved’, but as long as the supporting evidence is substantial, the theory should be taken seriously. I think AGW theory fits into that category.

That doesn’t mean the theory is conclusively ‘settled’ for all time. And there may well be some interesting discoveries and surprises in the future. But science is all about keeping an open mind to all possibilities, but not so open as to be vacuous, nor so sceptical as to be corrosive of the scientific way of thinking.

I would say that 2007 is probably a watershed year in AGW acceptance, what with the fourth IPCC report and the general acceptance of the theory by most developed countries. The recent burst of sceptic activity should be seen in this light – as a rearguard attempt to maintain the status quo.

12/01/2007 01:32:00 pm  
Blogger Phil said...

DenMT, I don't know what Lindsay's views are about whether AGW exists at all, but surely you are misrepresenting this press release.

It does not say 'humans are having no measurable impact on the climate,' it says "This plant will have absolutely no impact on climate change."

Which is absolutely true. One cement factory would have no measurable effect on world climate.

12/01/2007 07:10:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

WAIB

YOU are the frame of reference.

Think about it.

LGM

12/01/2007 07:47:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

DenMT

On the one hand you reckon the science is fairly "settled", while on the other hand you reckon it can't be proved. Hence it isn't settled at all and, according to your position, it can't be.

Meanwhile you also reckon "we" have got to do something about something that can't be proved. Gotta do something about "it".

How do you KNOW that something has to be done? How do you KNOW what to do? How do you make the determination exactly? feelings? A hunch? Your blind faith?

What a morass of BS! Irrational blind faith...

LGM

12/01/2007 07:58:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Brendan

So what you saying is that in science it is not possible to be certain about anything. Is that really your position?

BTW you're not a scientist or an engineer, are you?

LGM

12/01/2007 08:05:00 pm  
Blogger Brendan said...

LGM: “So what you saying is that in science it is not possible to be certain about anything.”

What I’m saying is that science as we currently know it is never conclusively ‘settled’, and that further knowledge is always possible. We can be confident enough about many things, but not absolutely certain.

“BTW you're not a scientist or an engineer, are you?”

Why is this relevant?

12/01/2007 10:50:00 pm  
Anonymous lgm said...

Brendan

Right. So, your position is that in science it is not possible to be certain of anything. Your answer to the question would be, affirmative.

--

Regarding your background, I was interested in it. You've touched on an important topic in regards to engineering or science. Some would argue it is central to practicing those professions.

There are several philosophies of science. The one you and DenMT were promoting is taught in certain educational institutions and popular with some authors/ science journalists. When it comes to putting it into practice there are certain problems. It is not that common to find a practioner actually applying it.

PoS is an interesting subject. Recently on the notPC site there was a post about the Schrodinger Cat Experiment. The importantce of that seemingly silly thought experiment was that the answer depends entirely on a particular view of the philosophy of science. That, in turn, depends entirely on one's understanding of philosophy and how one applies it. As was well said by Harriman, "one brings ones philosophy to science." In other words science presupposes philosophy and not the other way around.

So, I was interested to know whether you were a practitioner, actually experienced in applying the approach you related, or you had read /heard of it and restated it.

LGM

12/02/2007 07:09:00 am  
Blogger Brendan said...

LGM: “So, your position is that in science it is not possible to be certain of anything.”

What I said was that “science as we currently know it is never conclusively ‘settled’, and that further knowledge is always possible. We can be confident enough about many things, but not absolutely certain.”

“So, I was interested to know whether you were a practitioner, actually experienced in applying the approach you related, or you had read /heard of it and restated it.”

I am not a scientist. I don’t think it’s necessary to have developed a particular theory regarding the philosophy of science in order to do science, although it may help.

BTW, still waiting to hear what constitutes a “constitutional republic” that distinguishes it from actual democracy.

12/02/2007 12:32:00 pm  
Blogger libertyscott said...

I hope the Greens don't support anything that needs concrete, which means new railway lines (which need bridges and sleepers for the track).

Of course the impact this plant will have on the planet is proportionate to the impact of me peeing in Lake Taupo.

12/02/2007 12:36:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Brendan

You concluded, "We can be confident enough about many things, but not absolutely certain."

Are you certain of that?

LGM

12/02/2007 08:22:00 pm  
Blogger Brendan said...

LGM: “Are you certain of that?”

Only contextually.

12/03/2007 07:48:00 pm  
Anonymous lgm said...

Brendan

In which case you have a contradiction.

This is known as argument by the method of stolen concept. It is when a concept is "stolen" in order to deny that concept. In effect the concept is recognised in order to deny it; recognised and denied all at once!

In the present case, the idea that certainty is not possible is stated as a certainty. The position may be written thus, "I am certain that it is not possible to be certain." Clearly that is a self-contradictory position and hence it is out.

One recalls the old, "If I say that everything I say is a lie, would you believe me?" Around and around it goes. It is completely illogical. And that is the point.

This method of stolen concept is invalid and illogical. It does not destroy the concept of certainty. The idea that certainty is impossible is wrong.

We have strayed into the area known as Epistemology. This is the study of how Man acquires knowledge and what knowledge is etc. As may be readily appreciated this is an important area for scientists, even if many do not consciously consider it. The story of the Schrodinger Cat is an important example of how scientists interpret reality based on the philosophy they import into their scientific endeavours. As this is an Objective site, I should point out that the Objective Epistemology holds that it is possible to attain certainty. Actualy, your life depends on hard won and certain knowledge of aspects of reality, but that does not mean you (or anyone else) are omniscient.

Harriman delivered a seminar about the philosophy of science where he demonstrated the importance of the system of though adopted and employed by scientists through history. I understand that it was recorded and is available as a set of CDs or cassettes. He concentrated on the effect of philosophy on physics, but the examples employed aply equally well in other branches of science and engineering. The seminar was popularly known as "The Philosophic Corruption of Physics" and I think that name stuck (one wonders what the Philosophy Faculty Dons thought about that). Anyway, if you are ever able to get hold of a copy, have a listen. Well worth it.

LGM

12/04/2007 07:15:00 am  
Blogger Brendan said...

LGM: “In effect the concept is recognised in order to deny it; recognised and denied all at once!”

Or even simultaneously. Except that I’ve done no such thing. I appealed to ‘contextual certainty’, which depends on one’s context of knowledge. Since no-one is omniscient, contextual certainty is in fact a ‘Clayton’s certainty’, the type of certainty you have when you don’t really have certainty.

However, you are appealing to plain old ‘certainty’, which is the certainty you have when you really do have certainty. So ‘contextual certainty’ and ‘certainty’ are different concepts, hence no steal on my part.
This area known as Epistemology sounds interesting. Have you read anything by Ayn Rand? She was a Russian-American novelist-philosopher from the last century, who developed her own theory of knowledge, which sounds very much like the Epistemology you speak of.

Miss Rand was a powerful polemicist, although that doesn’t detract from her major achievement, which was her mastery of the blockbuster novel before the term was invented. Very prescient woman. I highly recommend her.

12/04/2007 07:27:00 pm  
Anonymous lgm said...

Brendan

I know of her and have read some of her books and articles. She did some important work and built strongly on the work of certain philosophers, rejecting/demolishing that of others. There are a number of important problems she solved or at the least indicated where solutions were to be found.

One reason I was bringing up the Objective Epistemology is that's the foundation of the site. It's a topic worth reading up about and understanding.

As far as certainty is concerned, it is possible to be certain and to possess certain knowledge. Denial of certainty in sciences and other areas opens the possibility for the politicisation of those areas and ultimately the justification of terrible crimes (since a supposition can't be proven or disproven, it is argued that the valid thing to do is act on the supposition "just in case").

LGM

12/04/2007 09:49:00 pm  
Anonymous lgm said...

Brendan

BTW, sorry to say, you indeed employed the method of stolen concept. The original statement you made refers to the impossibility of proof in science. According to that approach nothing in science can be proved and so knowledge can't be certain.

A corollary of that is that no evidence can be accepted as real either. It may be illusory- all appearances and not ever real. And you can't be certain...

I appreciate that you later modified the position by introducing context and that's fair enough, since knowledge is contextual as you say. But the premise is also important and that's what needs to be addressed carefully. Hence I state again, it is possible to possess certain knowledge. It is possible to make proof in science (for example I can prove my Pitts can and does fly as well as how it does it).

To be fair, it was DenMT who first stated that in science it was impossible to prove anything. This is why I wrote what I wrote to him. He is wrong.

What is dangerous in it is that such frothy headed nonsense is used to impose restrictions and destruction of choice, confiscations of wealth and losses of freedom upon other people. That action is undertaken with certainty on the basis of fraudulent justifications. That's why it is unreasonable.

LGM

12/04/2007 10:11:00 pm  
Blogger Brendan said...

LGM: “A corollary of that is that no evidence can be accepted as real either.”

Rubbish. Just because scientific knowledge is provisional does not make it unreal. The exact amount of the rise in levels of atmospheric CO2 over the past couple of hundred years is not known for ‘certain’, but the rise is real enough.

“I appreciate that you later modified the position by introducing context and that's fair enough, since knowledge is contextual as you say.”

My ‘contextual’ comment was tongue-in-cheek, since while knowledge may be contextual, that is, relative to a context, ‘contextual certainty’ is an oxymoron. It means no more than: “I’m certain I’m right, but I might be wrong.”

Proof does not apply to science, only to logic and mathematics. Science deals in evidence, and evidence is not ‘certain’. While evidence might support one’s theory, that doesn’t ‘prove’ the theory correct, since other evidence might count against the theory. A theory is established as viable when it is supported by the weight of evidence.

Are any of the above statements certain? Of course not, they’re provisional, but they are sufficient.

12/05/2007 08:41:00 pm  
Anonymous lgm said...

Brendan

In which case you have Einstein as your protaginist. You and he disagree. Einstein, in the introduction to his papers on relativity, discusses evidence as being but an appearance and not real. In this he was a Platonist. His position was that all that is available to Man are appearances, phantoms.

This way of looking at science is a corollary of the impossibility of certainty approach. In this instance it is impossible to be certain of the evidence. The evidence is provisional and is unreliable, it is merely an appearance.

This all leads to a conclusion that science is not about knowledge of reality at all, certainly not knowledge one can be certain about...

CO2 rising? Provisionally yes, provisionally it is just as valid to say, no. Can't be proven either way. This is science remember! Or would it be preferable to abandon this particular Epistemological approach for one that admits certainty?

LGM

12/05/2007 10:24:00 pm  
Anonymous lgm said...

BTW what is so interesting about Einstein's philosophical approach to science is that it determined what assumptions he made. Ultimately that delivered him to terrible frustrations at the hands of Bohr (whose vexatious correspondence drove Einstein to distraction) and Heisenberg's Quantum Physics (which Einstein firmly rejected, stating, "God does not play dice"). Alas, he was hoist by his own petard!

LGM

12/05/2007 10:31:00 pm  
Blogger Brendan said...

lgm: “CO2 rising? Provisionally yes, provisionally it is just as valid to say, no.”

No it’s not, since the rise in CO2 levels has been measured.

“Or would it be preferable to abandon this particular Epistemological approach for one that admits certainty?”

Well, it wouldn’t be the epistemology you subscribe to, since as I’ve pointed out ‘contextual certainty’ is an oxymoron, equivalent to ‘uncertainty’. It’s a cheap card trick, with one side inscribed ‘contextual’, the other ‘certainty’, and used according to need.

Not only that, but the notion of one’s ‘context of knowledge’ is vague and irredeemably subjective. One man’s contextual certainty might be at point x, another’s at point 2x.

In addition, since gaining and holding knowledge can be a complex business, ‘contextual certainty’ implies that the less knowledge one has, the greater one’s certainty. But those who have an in-depth knowledge of a subject are well aware that new evidence can confound the old. It’s ignorance that can indulge the bliss of certainty.

As for Einstein, as far as I understand it, he was a metaphysical realist, so I’m not sure to what extent he considered scientific evidence to be “unreal”. In any case, the fact that you consider Einstein to be my “protaginist” [sic] is hardly relevant to the issue.

12/06/2007 07:35:00 pm  
Anonymous lgm said...

Brendan

I nearly missed your response as this thread has been removed from the front of the site.

---

Well, one could worry about CO2 values on the basis that they may have been measured, but how does one know that the value at one site is consistant with that at all others? Also how does one know that the instruments are acurate and are actualy measuring real CO2 concentrations and not being altered by some other unknown effect or power? How does one know that previous measurement values (from 20, 50 or 100 years ago) can be trusted? One does not even know the conditions under which these meansurements were undertaken or who undertook them or even how they did the mesurements.

Most important, how does one know that one is measuring what thinks is being measured and not some other quantity? What if one is measuring something different from what one believes, once again merely dealing with an appearance?

You are relying on a great amount of certain knowledge to make the claim you (or anyone else) have evidence of atmospheric CO2 concentrations rising.

The question is, are you certain of rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Are you certain it is real or is it an appearance? By your own statements you can't be certain. It can't be proved that you have meansured CO2 levels, let alone prove they are rising. No proof possible in science, remember.

LGM

12/07/2007 06:34:00 am  
Blogger Brendan said...

lgm: “Most important, how does one know that one is measuring what thinks is being measured and not some other quantity?”

Now you’re asking an entirely different question: how can we know anything? That’s not the same thing as knowing something with certainty. The brief answer is that human beings are adapted to know their environment, and their survival is evidence of that fact.

The scientific method offers a systematic refinement to our ordinary way of knowing. We make mistakes, but that’s because the materials we work with are imperfect.

“The question is, are you certain of rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.”

No, but I’m confident enough that the evidence is sufficient to establish that CO2 levels have risen over the past couple of hundred years. Being “certain” about that fact doesn’t change it.

“Are you certain it is real or is it an appearance?”

Again, no. And if by “appearance” you mean false, the scientific method provides procedures for testing the evidence. But if by “appearance” you mean non-existent, I accept as a working hypothesis that observed phenomena are “real”, keeping in mind that even illusions have subjective reality.

Ultimately, your questions come down to: if perfection cannot exist, then nothing can exist. On the grounds of common sense, I would say that such an attitude is, well, unrealistic.

12/07/2007 06:08:00 pm  
Anonymous lgm said...

Brendan

You can't evade or wriggle out of this by wordsmithing. The point is that you adopted DenMT's position that nothing in science can be proved. It is impossible to so do. Certainty can't ever be achieved.

Then you claimed (with certainty) that CO2 levels had been measured and were rising. That's a big self-contradiction you have there. The corollary to the DenMT position is that no evidence can be certain. It can't be trusted and may be an appearance only (Plato's shadows on the cave wall).

You wrote: "No, but I’m confident enough that the evidence is sufficient to establish that CO2 levels have risen over the past couple of hundred years."

Consider those CO2 measurements as your example. You admit you are not certain of rising levels of CO2. That's the argument yielded. You do not actually KNOW. CO2 levels may not be rising. They may be falling. They may be static. They may not exist at all. It may be an appearance of CO2 that you read about someone else claiming to measure. And do not forget that the measurement of CO2 levels relies on a lot of science over a long period of time- none of which can be certain (according to you remember)... You do not KNOW for certain. Hence you do not know at all. Your statement is provisional only and may be incorrect (likely is incorret).

The rest of your comment revolves around your "confidence". Essentially the position collapses down to, "I do not know, but I have faith." So you are trapped with appearances and faith, nothing more. Not good enough.

That is a flawed epistemlogy, popular though it may be.

LGM

12/11/2007 07:36:00 am  
Blogger Brendan said...

lgm: “Then you claimed (with certainty) that CO2 levels had been measured and were rising.”

Show me where I claimed this with certainty.

“You admit you are not certain of rising levels of CO2. That's the argument yielded. You do not actually KNOW.”

Knowledge does not equal certainty. I don’t know the exact distance between Wellington and Auckland, but I know within the ball-park. Does that equal knowledge? Yes it does. (And, yes, these statements are also provisional, etc etc.)

Again, your questions come down to: if perfection cannot exist, then nothing can exist.

12/11/2007 08:23:00 pm  
Anonymous lgm said...

Brendan

Now you are attempting to confuse certainty with precision. This is not a valid approach.

In the end your adopted position means that YOU do not know. Worse, you can't know. Nothing in science can be proved remember. Too bad for the rising CO2 dogma then.

Hence your position collapses and you are stuck with a certain confidence of blind faith, belief, whims and feelings. Not really much of a justification.

LGM

12/12/2007 04:42:00 pm  
Blogger Brendan said...

lgm: “Now you are attempting to confuse certainty with precision.”

Certainty requires precision. You can only be certain of your position if you know the precise coordinates. No precision, no certainty, no certainty, no knowledge. It’s all or nothing.

I, however, can and do know a great deal without having to worry too much about certainty. That’s why I can be confident about rising CO2 levels, while you are condemned to know-nothing scepticism.

12/12/2007 10:30:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Brendan

You can't wriggle out of this no matter how hard you try.

It is possible to know with certainty that the distance to Wellington from here is XYZ km plus or minus ABC metres. One has certain knowledge of the distance and of the precision of measurement of that distance. In order to have the knowledge it is necessary to prove the validity of the means of measurement. That relies on an ability to prove the science involved is true and correct. Were you a practioner of engineering you would (or should) have experience with tolerance bands and the specification of precision. You certainly would not make the simple error of confusing certainty with precision.

Know-nothing skepticism is the necessary result of YOUR stated position applied consistently. The only way you can let yourself out of your self-made trap is to commit a fraud on your own intellect. That fraud is an application of a blind faith or belief. "Confidence" indeed!

Brendan, your stated position and your appeal to faith necessarily means you know nothing. You can not know for what you have is not knowledge of reality, it is an arbitrary (and uncertain) faith.

Game over!

LGM

12/13/2007 07:39:00 am  
Blogger Brendan said...

lgm: “It is possible to know with certainty that the distance to Wellington from here is XYZ km plus or minus ABC metres.”

Sorry old chap. That measurement is an approximation, therefore the distance is not known with certainty. By your own standard, therefore, your knowledge has crumbled to dust and you're stranded on a road to nowhere.

It doesn’t have to be like this. My standard of error for the above measurement is much greater – I know the distance to within a few kilometres, but I can tell you “with confidence” that I will arrive, while you are engaged in a fruitless search for 'certainty'.

12/13/2007 08:55:00 pm  
Anonymous lgm said...

Brendan

You are still attempting to confuse precision for certainty. They are not the same concept and the polemic substitution does not work.

Brendan, you are stuck with the problem of the intrincisist. By denying the possibility of scientific proof, you are necessarily putting yourself in a position of appealing to a blind faith or belief in order to "know" anything.

You can't show that what you claim is real. It can't be proved and so you are left with a "confidence" based your own feelings. What you have there is not knowledege.

It has been explained that if you consistently apply your own statement, you end up with self-contradiction along with a set of baseless claims that can't ever be proved to be correct. What you can't obtain from your approach is knowledge of reality. Yet, it is on this terminally shakey basis that you promote and support the imposition of compulsory and coercive political controls over all other human beings. It's supposedly justified by a "confident" fiction story (unprovable) built on another story about CO2 levels (which you can't prove can even be measured). That's less than weak. It certainly is unreasonable.

---

BTW on a previous post you mentioned Ayn Rand. If you are interested in Epistemology I'd recommend you read her book on the topic, "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology". You could also try Dr Peikoff's book, "Objectivism- the Philosophy of Ayn Rand". Both works explain the problem with the denial of proof and the invalidity of the intrinsicist view, among other things.

LGM

12/15/2007 06:31:00 am  
Blogger Brendan said...

lgm: “You are still attempting to confuse precision for certainty.”

As I said, certainty depends on precision. The distinction you are probably thinking of is between precision and accuracy.

“You can't show that what you claim is real.”

Which claim?

12/15/2007 10:27:00 am  
Anonymous lgm said...

Brendan

And what you said was wrong then and wrong it remains now.

You are still trying to confuse one concept with another. Then it was precision and lately it's accuracy. Such polemic tricks don't work.

You can wriggle and evade all you like, but you are stuck. Your epistemological position (intrinsicism) is false. This has severe implications since nature of man, ethics, politics and economics all presuppose epistemology. In short, your base error blows your entire position out of the water- science, politics and all.

You really should do the research and think on it some.

LGM





LGM

12/16/2007 12:08:00 pm  
Blogger Brendan said...

lgm: “You really should do the research and think on it some.”

I’ve done better than that. I have demonstrated my point empirically. In the past I have on a number of occasions driven successfully from Wellington to Auckland, despite only knowing the distance to a rough approximation. Nothing succeeds like success.

12/16/2007 06:30:00 pm  
Anonymous lgm said...

Brendan

You are quite the wriggy little bugger when you're trapped!

You attempted to substitute one concept for another and now you are attempting to substitute an different issue for that which was being examined. It doesn't work.

Remember, it is YOUR contention proofs are out and certainty not possible. Yet here you are, driving from one place to another to measure a distance. This is an example of acquiring and proving certain knowledge of reality.

Were you to understand the mechanism involved in making the measurement, you would know it has certain real attributes one of which is its tolerance band. Further you would know with certainty why that attribute was present and what its magnitude was. Ah, but YOU can't do any of this according to your own claim- no proofs possible etc. etc...

This all gets much tougher for you when applied against your "confidence" in rising CO2 levels. There is a great deal of science involved in making that sort of measurement, none of which YOU can prove, hence you are reduced to dealing with appearances (for you don't know whether the methods employed operate or not, what their attributes actually are, you do not ever have the ability to be certain of them- hence the results are not necessarily real; appearances again!). To get away from this trap you have employed the method of intrinsicism- the leap of faith, your "confidence".

Now it is important to realise what the consequences are. It undermines your entire system of thought. That's why I recommended you take a look at some references (listed above) and do some research. There are superior approaches to epistemology than the one you posited (or DenMT did and you carelessly adopted). You should do the research and find out.

LGM

12/17/2007 07:38:00 am  
Blogger Brendan said...

lgm: You are quite the wriggy little bugger when you're trapped!

Mind your language, young man, otherwise you’re off to the woodshed for a sound thrashing.

“Yet here you are, driving from one place to another to measure a distance.”

No I’m not. I’m testing my theory that approximate knowledge of the distance is sufficient to get me from A to B. So far, the theory has worked. Until the test fails I can claim genuine, if uncertain, knowledge.

“Were you to understand the mechanism involved in making the measurement, you would know it has certain real attributes one of which is its tolerance band.”

‘Tolerance;’ in measurement equates to ‘uncertainty’, ‘possible error’. To claim ‘certainty’ in tolerances is to commit an oxymoron.

As for rising CO2 levels, I ascertain them not only by (approximate) measurement, but also by ‘testing’ against real-life phenomena: rising global temperatures, melting glaciers, changes in seasonal patterns and so on.

This procedure – called the ‘scientific method’ – is a powerful set of tools that can provide confidence without certainty, since ultimately, the ‘proof’ is in the pudding.

12/17/2007 07:33:00 pm  

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