April 26, 2012

Philosophy Now

Green Army: Communications

Avatar (2009)

James Cameron

[You] are stupid, like a child!

The wealth of this world isn't in the ground, it's all around us.

I'll do [the forced relocation] with minimal casualties to the indigenous. …
It'll be humane — more or less. …

Our only security lies in pre-emptive attack. …
We will fight terror with terror.

See the world we come from.
There's no green there.
[The Sky People] killed their Mother.
They're going to do the same here. …
They're going to come like a rain that never ends. …


Language-Using Apes

Philosophical Quibbles

Four Flavors of Liberalism

A Call to Arms

April 21, 2012

Ockham's Razor

ABC Radio National

Participatory Democracy and Majoritarian Tyranny

William Grey: Honorary Research Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Queensland

[Unlike participatory democracies, representative] democracies embody checks and balances which help to insulate them from the prejudices and delusions disseminated by special interest advocates, who often float happily in a fact-free parallel universe.
One important balance is the evidence-based expertise which bureaucracies and universities provide to our elected representatives.
Evidence-based expertise makes an important contribution to policy development in our science-based technological society, and sound policy in many areas (including health, energy, agriculture, the environment) depends crucially on scientific expertise.
This is a critically important component of the institutional structures of representative democracy but it is something which is downplayed or ignored by the populist processes of participatory democracy. …

Participatory democracy's hostility to science is a serious strike against it.
A related role of scientific experts is to challenge and correct a mountain of error and confusion and to defend evidence-based beliefs against delusional belief systems promoted, for example, by anti-vaccinationists or deniers of climate change. …

[In Australia, there] is no tradition of consulting the people (aside from elections) for the resolution of socially contested issues.
  • Compulsory national service was introduced during the Korean and Vietnam wars;
  • women were given the vote;
  • the death penalty was abolished;
  • homosexuality was decriminalized;
  • no-fault divorce was introduced; [and]
  • the White Australia Policy was abolished
— all without consulting the will of the people.
Why should legalizing same-sex marriage be any different? …

To those who suggest:
Let the people have their say,
I reply:
The people have had their say.
We have elected our representatives who are invested with the authority to make policy decisions on our behalf.
It is the duty of these elected representatives to act with the power invested in them by the Constitution.

Those who think there is little likelihood of public discourse degenerating into hate speech should study the Irish experience.
There is a very real risk that opponents of marriage equality —
  • the shock jocks,
  • the tabloid press and
  • political voices from the lunar right
— would vilify and denigrate opponents.
The [risk] of inflammatory hate speech is [simply one] not worth taking. …

[The] death penalty was [abolished] not because it was popular, but because it was right.
Had the endorsement of a plebiscite been sought, it would never have happened.

[Justice] and majority opinion [do not always] coincide. …
Plebiscites are a dangerous and capricious instrument of governance and should play no role in determining policy outcomes when questions of social justice are at issue.
It is the job of our [elected] leaders to lead — to shape and direct public opinion for benefit of everyone — not to follow. …

(Plebiscites, 13 November 2016)

An Australian Responsibility

Terry Krieg

[Australia exports] yellowcake to over 20 countries for them to produce emissions free energy. …
[We] have a responsibility to take back [that waste] for final disposal.
… Australia should offer the world the Officer Basin for the development of an international nuclear waste repository for the final disposal of what will be [following the advent of Integrated Fast Reactors] an increasingly smaller volume of waste.

Pigs and Poultry

Asa Wahlquist

[For every one] kilogram of beef 24 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent is produced.
Lamb produces 16.8 Kg.
The figure for pork is 4.1 Kg of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram of meat and for chicken it is just 0.8 Kg.



April 16, 2012

Prosperity Without Growth: Part 2

Sustainable Development Commission

Independent on Sunday:
We do not agree with the anti-capitalists who see the economic crisis as a chance to impose their utopia, whether of a socialist or eco-fundamentalist kind …
Most of us in this country enjoy long and fulfilling lives thanks to liberal capitalism: we have no desire to live in a yurt under a workers’ soviet.

The Economist:
As every hunted animal knows, it is not how fast you run that counts, but whether you are slower than everyone else.
(November, 2008)


The Myth of Decoupling

Confronting Structure

Keynesianism and the 'Green New Deal'

April 9, 2012

Cultural Cognition Project

Green Army: Research and Development

Dan Kahan:
[I]f the problem is that culture is preventing you from appreciating what the best scientific information is, maybe we can do something about that. …
There are techniques we can use and those techniques are not substitutes for rational thought, THEY ARE RATIONAL THOUGHT.
There's no system of human rationality where people can figure out things for themselves without being able reliably to receive information certified by other people that they ought to trust, that they can rely on, even all scientists do it.
So why can't we get our system in a state like that, so … people can [become] participants …


Local (Mal)Adaptation

Empirical evidence that liberals misconstrue empirical evidence to suit their ideology

Do more educated people see more risk — or less — in climate change?

Cultural Cognition of Risk Perception
Would you like to know more?