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BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2006,01:33   

Ok, So... This is an edit of the original post.  Perusing the news last night, I found 2 sites which made me laugh at the irony of placement.
Quote
Dr Serreze's concern was underlined by new computer modelling which concludes that the Arctic may be free of all summer ice by as early as 2040.
The new study, by a team of scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the University of Washington, and McGill University, found that the ice system could be being weakened to such a degree by global warming that it soon accelerates its own decline.
"As the ice retreats, the ocean transports more heat to the Arctic and the open water absorbs more sunlight, further accelerating the rate of warming and leading to the loss of more ice," explained Dr Marika Holland.
"This is a positive feedback loop with dramatic implications for the entire Arctic region."
Eventually, she said, the system would be "kicked over the edge", probably not even by a dramatic event but by one year slightly warmer than normal. Very rapid retreat would then follow.

bbc news
and
Quote
    Global warming is a hoax, invented in 1988, that combines old myths including limits to growth, sustainability, the population growth time bomb, the depletion of resources, pollution, anti-Americanism and anti-corporate sentiment and, of all things, fear of an ice age. Those that espoused and supported the old myths have joined forced into a new group called “Environmentalists.”
Most environmentalists have no technical or scientific credentials whatsoever. What they have are major news outlets ready and willing to publicize their every utterance regardless of whether or not they are backed up by scientific proof. Atmospheric science requires highly technical knowledge and skills, not possessed by the vast majority of the so-called environmentalists, who yet feel qualified to demand that human activity subjugate itself to the whims of their new deity, Mother Nature.
Environmentalists claim that the Earth’s atmosphere is getting hotter. They claim that the polar icecaps and glaciers will melt and sea levels will rise over two hundred feet, flooding most coastal cities. They claim that many areas of the Earth will turn into deserts. They make all these claims but cannot substantiate them with real scientific evidence. Parts of the polar icecap and glaciers are melting but other areas of the polar icecaps and glaciers are thickening. The environmentalists base their “proof” of the existence of global warming on the melting areas but are strangely silent, even militant to the point of violence, if anyone mentions the areas that are thickening, and those thickening areas are many.
Chronwatch

2 friends I went through grad school with are now "climate scientists" (A marine biologist and an oceanographer actually), one in New Zealand and one in BC. I don't talk to them often but occasionally they send me interesting snippets from work. Because we went to school together and because we speak a common language of marine science, they don't have to translate information into english. To make a long story short, the "state of the art" of climate science is exceptionally technical and sophisticated. It is also exceptionally good. When pundits go about denying climate science, it reminds me of the afdaves of the world denying geology ot biology. I have yet to meet someone working in the field who is "blinded by the data" and makes bold claims without presenting the reasons and allowing a scientific challenge. Perhaps that's because science isn't religion.  

I am fascinated by the instant responses by laymen to science papers that make news. What makes them so vitriolic? They feel threatened I suppose. So then this following item appeared in the news as I scrolled. Fascinating. These numbers tell an interesting story. Totally different issue but same root. It turns out that drugs just plain aren't very dangerous. This guy did this research using gov't data that is freely available.

 
Quote
We have no legitimate reason to attempt to change drug taking behavior through force of law. The drugs simply aren't as dangerous as we have been led to believe, and the majority of the users of the drugs are not causing significant problems...The alleged impacts of drug use on society are laughably minuscule, but the effects of waging a war against our own citizens has been profoundly destructive.

Link Brian Bennet's website.


Contrast that with this:
Quote
MARIJUANA IS DANGEROUS TO THE USER AND OTHERS

Legalization of marijuana, no matter how it begins, will come at the expense of our children and public safety. It will create dependency and treatment issues, and open the door to use of other drugs, impaired health, delinquent behavior, and drugged drivers.

This is not the marijuana of the 1970’s; today’s marijuana is far more powerful. Average THC levels of seized marijuana rose from less than one per cent in the mid-1970’s to a national average of over eight per cent in 2004.19 And the potency of "B.C. Bud" is roughly twice the national average – ranging from 15 per cent to as high as 25 per cent THC content.20

Dependency and Treatment:
Adolescents are at highest risk for marijuana addiction, as they are "three times more likely than adults to develop dependency."21 This is borne out by the fact that treatment admission rates for adolescents reporting marijuana as the primary substance of abuse increased from 32 to 65 per cent between 1993 and 2003.22 More young people ages 12-17 entered treatment in 2003 for marijuana dependency than for alcohol and all other illegal drugs combined.23  

"[R]esearch shows that use of [marijuana] can lead to dependence. Some heavy users of marijuana develop withdrawal symptoms when they have not used the drug for a period of time. Marijuana use, in fact, is often associated with behavior that meets the criteria for substance dependence established by the American Psychiatric Association."24

Of the 19.1 million Americans aged 12 or older who used illicit drugs in the past 30 days in 2004, 14.6 million used marijuana, making it the most commonly used illicit drug in 2004.25

Among all ages, marijuana was the most common illicit drug responsible for treatment admissions in 2003, accounting for 15 per cent of all admissions -- outdistancing heroin, the next most prevalent cause.26

In 2003, 20 per cent (185,239) of the 919,833 adults admitted to treatment for illegal drug abuse cited marijuana as their primary drug of abuse.27

Marijuana as a Precursor to Abuse of Other Drugs:

Marijuana is a frequent precursor to the use of more dangerous drugs, and signals a significantly enhanced likelihood of drug problems in adult life. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported, based on a study of 300 sets of twins, "that marijuana-using twins were four times more likely than their siblings to use cocaine and crack cocaine, and five times more likely to use hallucinogens such as LSD."28

Long-term studies on patterns of drug usage among young people show that very few of them use other drugs without first starting with marijuana. For example, one study found that among adults (age 26 and older) who had used cocaine, 62 per cent had initiated marijuana use before age 15. By contrast, less than one per cent of adults who never tried marijuana went on to use cocaine.29


If you go through the graphs on the previous website, you see that these statements are NOT statistically bearing out. It's bullshite.  Pure.

If you understand climate modeling, if you know what is being studied and how the samples are obtained, it is next to impossible to be on the denial side. You might understand that there are sets of probabilities and so forth but you don't doubt the science or the data. If you look at the actual data on drug use, it is next to impossible to justify the "war on drugs". If you actually look at information, you get a picture of reality that is 180' from the afdave, gwb type of point of view. So how come we bite when these stupid challenges are issued? I think because we implicitely get the implications for letting people be misled in this specific kind of way.

How many political issues are being pursued "in spite of" the data? The war on science is old news but the implications are scary. This is along the lines of what I think richard dawkins means when he points out how difficult it is to believe you are napoleon because so few people will go along with you but it is easy to believe in environmentalist scare tactics or the sky daddy or the evils of drugs or whatever when you have a group of people helping you create your unreality.

One big part of the problem is the sheer complexity of the issues. Individual examples used by opposing groups tend to point out "critical  flaws" right at the fulcrum where you need advanced understanding to move on. For those used to using advanced understanding of a topic, recognizing expertise might be easier. Or maybe there is simply a critical amount of knowledge necessary to be able to evaluate complex claims. The examples above show how a group of people can make bold statements that are not born out by actual data and that, distubingly, do not need to be. The audience will never look. If you are good enough, you might be able to get your audience to buy your unreality and help you argue for it. Religious folk would be fertile grounds to look for such people. They are used to perpetuating a view of reality that is opposed to the data and evidence. Anyone who has ever studied dynamic systems has seen the concept of "Fall Off" or "Crash" play out in numbers. If you have been more specific and studied ecosystems or population dynamics you understand the idea of sudden, dramatic change. What if you haven't?  Is it harder to believe? Is that what the impediment is? I think it is specifically a lack of experience. I think Dawkins is on to something.

Ignorance is dangerous. Dogma intensifies the danger.  The war on drugs, while not justified by statistics, at least only ruins lives one at a time. The war on science has broader implications. Whatever motivation pushes this behavior, it's effects are to get into our personal lives, make a society totally engrossed in the individuals among it and clutter up the brain/air waves too much to see the society as an individual. Global warming is far away and has "experts" refuting it anyway. Evolution is "Dogma". Drugs are the "scourge" of society. Acid rain is a "local problem". Peak oil is a "Fairy Tale" . Malthus was wrong. Rachel Carson has been "proved wrong". The club of rome was also "proved wrong". Wild fish stocks can be managed. That's it. No data needed. No studies needed. Shut up the people who are ruining the party. Iraq is linked to Al Quaida. They have WMD's. Desertification can't happen in a rain forest, are you crazy? Why do you think it's called a rain forest! Etc.

Hmmm.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2006,06:35   

BWE,

Ok I'll bite ;)

Quote
 Global warming is a hoax, invented in 1988, that combines old myths including limits to growth, sustainability, the population growth time bomb, the depletion of resources, pollution, anti-Americanism and anti-corporate sentiment and, of all things, fear of an ice age. Those that espoused and supported the old myths have joined forced into a new group called “Environmentalists.”

Most environmentalists have no technical or scientific credentials whatsoever. What they have are major news outlets ready and willing to publicize their every utterance regardless of whether or not they are backed up by scientific proof. Atmospheric science requires highly technical knowledge and skills, not possessed by the vast majority of the so-called environmentalists, who yet feel qualified to demand that human activity subjugate itself to the whims of their new deity, Mother Nature.

Environmentalists claim that the Earth’s atmosphere is getting hotter. They claim that the polar icecaps and glaciers will melt and sea levels will rise over two hundred feet, flooding most coastal cities. They claim that many areas of the Earth will turn into deserts. They make all these claims but cannot substantiate them with real scientific evidence. Parts of the polar icecap and glaciers are melting but other areas of the polar icecaps and glaciers are thickening. The environmentalists base their “proof” of the existence of global warming on the melting areas but are strangely silent, even militant to the point of violence, if anyone mentions the areas that are thickening, and those thickening areas are many.


You know, as someone who is exceptionally concerned about environmental issues and the demonstrableand rapid changes human activities are having on the planet, I'd agree with almost all of that quote. Except the bits in bold and with the one caveat that the word "some" is inserted before every instance of "environmentalist". Ok so it changes the entire sense of the piece and means I agree with none of it. Big whoop!

Hey there are nutters in the environmentalist movement, film at 11!

Yes of course some loony lefties and weirdy beardy Dame Nature luvvin' anti-Yank anti-McGovernment fruitcakes have leapt onto the coat tailsof real scientists studying the environment. And so what?  Are all christians young earth creationists now? Are all pastors gay hooker loving methamphetamine freaks? Are all republicans Hitler (do I win the Godwin award?)?

Answers to above questions: Shock horror. No. No. No.

What annoys me about (presumably) the people who write crap like this first is they use the fringe beardy weirdy element who couldn't find a clue with both hands, a map and a sherpa to #### the rest by association. Kinda like the fact that I get annoyed by the "all religious people are fundamentalists" band of atheists (who are thankfully much much rarer than certain people emulating the antics of interbellum British Prime Ministers would have us believe).

I think the plutocratic, grind the poor and hungry under my boot heel, Gott Mit Uns corporatistas (see I can play "loony fringes represent the majority" fallacies too! ) should wake up and smell the coffee:

1) Climate change is happening, always has, always will
2) There is an anthropogenic element to climate change which is exacerbating and accelerating certain elements of said change.
3) Climate change, anthropogenic or otherwise, has consequences for human civilisation (and those footling millions of unimportant "lesser species" who weren't elevated by, ya know, the great sky fairy who watches you masturbate and knows if you've been naughty or nice).
4) Some of those changes will be nice. Some of those changes will be nasty. Some of those changes will be things we humans and the biosphere can easily adapt to/overcome with future ingenuity. Some will be less tractable.
5) Some of the changes that are affected by anthopogenic activities will fall into all the categories outlined in 4) above.
6) We need to fully understand (and luckily in some cases we do) the consequences of those changes due to anthropogenic activities. Some of them are relatively innocuous, some ain't. We need to ask ourselves if the less than innocuous consequences are ones we can live with.

The environmental issue is horribly muddied by the wankery and party politicising. In some cases we have really really clear evidence that anthropogenic sources of environmental change are leading to really unpalatable consequences. In some cases we don't. It really is that simple. Global warming data, ozone depletion data, localised polution data, data regarding sustainability and use of resources are really really good. We know how much of an effect driving to work has on the environment to a high degree of predictability. We know there are aspects of our habits we need to change.

Whenever I engage in the environmental debate I always get the "ahhh but what about the future technologies we don't yet have?" from the antienvironmentalists. I agree wholeheartedly with them and say "what about the alternative technoologies we DO have?". For example, if all homes could recycle waste and rainwater (depending on locale etc) and be mostly powered by personal wind turbines (again depending on locale), despite initial set up costs, wouldn't that be a massic ECONOMIC benefit right NOW? Ok so we hug a few trees into the bargain as a bonus. Our utility prices drop, we have more power/cash available energy for pizza ovens, washing machines and a whole host of nicely priced consumer durables. We could move to less oil powered industry/homes/vehicles (perhaps using electric motors, perhaps some other technologies) this makes the reliance of Europe and the USA on OPEC nations and foreign naughty persons less significant (who knows, world peace might ensue? Naaaaaaah. Killing foreigners is just too much fun! ) which in turn benefits our economies NOW. Oh and apparently pollution goes down too, as well as those anthropogenic of know global warmers etc.

Ok so I am being slightly overly simplistic and flippant. Fucking sue me. My incredibly simple point is this; there are economic and social benefits available NOW for changing certain habits that also appear to have environmental benefits associated with them. You may prefer we do them for the environmental reasons, and so would I, but some may not. Like all political conflicts, this one will be won by pointing out the material costs and benefits. "Swampy" in his hand carved tree hut over the latest motorway route to be built doesn't care about the science, neither does Mr McBillionaireplanetrapingplutocrat. They're both pushing agendas. However, the latter might just be convinced that his portfolio will suffer if he doesn't act, the former has fundy issues.

Just like the attacks on evolutionary biology however, environmental science is under attack by a bunch of people with vested interests (and also is being misused by similarly vested people) and not a care in the world for the facts. Just like the war against creationists, this won't simply be won by pointing out the facts to them, they don't  care about the facts. The facts were in a looooooong while ago and they didn't give a toss about them then. They don't give a toss about them now either. One of the smartest things I  have ever heard anyone say was by Lenny Flank: in a contest between god and mammon, mammon always wins. It might not be original or even his, I don't know. What I do know is that you can win the plutocrats over by pointing to probable profit losses. You can partially win some quasi-creationists over by similar appeals. Sure the Hams and Hovinds aren't worried about the cash (did I just say that???? ) in the sense that they'll be won over by claims of science based business in the USA failing (that's pretty much what they think they want in some senses), but "Average Joe Know Nothing About The Issue But Have Strong Sense of Cultural Identity About Creationism" will listen harder when his mortgage rates might fly up and his kids can't get jobs. Same goes for the einvironment. Point out that changing some habits has real economic benefits right now, people will liisten more acutely. Heck, they might even start to look at the evidence and realise it's a good idea environmentally too, but I won't hold my breath.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2006,07:07   

As for drugs:

Easy. Prohibition hasn't worked, it can't work. Legalise and tax drug use. Addicts are (usually) victims first not criminals first. Get the illegal drugs market under govt control (should piss off a few criminals), give addicts what they need (they get it already, just by stealing my VCR...bastards), and gradually ween them off their junk if possible. Same goes for hookers too. Legalise it, control it, try not to make it the option of last resort for anyone. Zero tolerance just makes the hole in the net too wide, people fall through, lots and lots of them.

Louis

P.S. Any other problems you need sorting, I have a free morning. Oh ok I'm joking. Were it really that simple

--------------
Bye.

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2006,18:03   

I edited the post. Thanks.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2006,18:12   

Great AV, Louis.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2006,04:52   

Cheers Lou.

I found it as someone else's avatar somewhere else (Can't remember where).

Pretty much sums up my attitude to trolls. I thought it would be an amusing addition.

Louis

--------------
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Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2006,05:41   

In no particular order:

Quote
That's it. No data needed. No studies needed. Shut up the people who are ruining the party.


Quote
I am fascinated by the instant responses by laymen to science papers that make news. What makes them so vitriolic? They feel threatened I suppose.


Quote
This is along the lines of what I think richard dawkins means when he points out how difficult it is to believe you are napoleon because so few people will go along with you but it is easy to believe in environmentalist scare tactics or the sky daddy or the evils of drugs or whatever when you have a group of people helping you create your unreality.


Quote
So how come we bite when these stupid challenges are issued? I think because we implicitly get the implications for letting people be misled in this specific kind of way.


YES!

Love the edit, I agreed with your implied point before, and I agree with your expanded point even more!

I am also curious about why people with absolutely no clue about a subject feel that they have the right to spout off about it AND be correct AND listened to. The "AND"s are important. Anyone is free to pontificate on any topic. Anyone is free to express any opinion they like. What anyone is NOT free to do is be correct simply because they think they are. Facts and evidence do matter, shock horror.

I think a great example of this is the latest scurrillous efforts by the troll on the abiogenesis thread. To anyone with a clue about chemistry he's googletrawling concepts he manifestly doesn't understand and misapplying them based purely on one thing. That one thing is his personal predisposition to accept creationist comments and arguments wholecloth, and then attempt to shift the burden of proof to people in the relevant field who actually do the work and understand why the comments of creationists aren't relevant or accurate. It doesn't matter how many times or how clearly this is explained, the same irrelevancies are rehashed. It's a bit tiresome to be frank.

What I really have no idea about is how to effectively combat it. In the really hard wired cases, no amount of evidence has an effect. This I think is one of the key elements of the "Evangelical Atheists vs Chamberlain Group" shennanigans. One of the strawmen I see being chucked around there is the "you're not going to win people over by simply pointing them to the evidence and telling them they were wrong" strawman. The same goes, as I aluded to above, for the drugs/environment etc issues. There are a huge quantity of unstated assumptions and fears that these people are operating from that simply never see the light of day. That's at least one good reason to pursue a strategy that appeals to these hidden assumptions and fears. Like my example above, most of the environmental science deniers I encounter base it on the undoubted financial upheaval some of the required measures would cause. Appealing to the financial advantages that some of the required measures do have might sneak past the wall of unstated fears and assumptions and actually allow a trickle of evidence to get through.

Eh, I'm an optimist!

Louis

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Bye.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2006,07:35   

How much would carbon emissions go down if privately owned motor transport was removed? I am kinda for this. A decent public transport system and no cars on UK roads might lead to an improvement in life, especially for the most vulnerable in society.

As for the drugs thing. Legalise them. Produce them in laboritory standard conditions and sell them in special licensed venues, to be used on the premises. Tax them as well. Not to the extent that they cost as much as the illegal ones already on the market though.

Prostiution? Legalise it. Have state registerd brothels on industrial estates. Have the workers taxed and given regular medical checks.

Too simplistic? Possibly.      /rant

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2006,08:08   

Stephen,

I'm not sure I'd remove private owned transport utterly, our economy is too heavily based on the ability of people to move greater distances than before, almost at will. I'd also argue that there would be unpleasant social consequences. That aside I WOULD change the fuel used, or rather whatever it is we use to power transport. Move away from fossil fuels and to....hydrogen cells etc etc etc etc etc. There are myriad technological solutions, or possible technological solutions. Obviously there's going to be a transitionary period between old and new. What we have to hope is that our current emissions, and the emissions during the transitionary period are nto sufficient to cause environmental runaway. There are things we can do to minimise that: carbon sequestration, planting forests of quick growing trees, building old fashioned paper libraries (good store of carbon your average book! ), and myriad more serious suggestions!

As for legalising drugs and prostitution. Absolutely. Stick 'em under govt control. Standardise pricing, manufacturing standards etc. Treat victims as people who are ill not as criminals (unless they are criminals) etc.

Mind you there is huge comedy potential here. How do you standardise prostitution? You surely can't standardise pricing, after all who would pay the same for a right old trout as a total stunner? How the heck are you going to develop a ranking system for varied pricing?  Yikes! "I'm sorry Miss Smith, but you are only a grade 2 listed hooker. You need to get at least some reconstructive surgery on your face and a breast upgrade to 34 DD to make grade 3.". Or perhaps "I'm sorry Mr Jones but your small penis is limiting you to a Grade 1 He-Whore, surgery is always an option, but perhaps you would be better focussing on your cunnilingus which is apparently awful. Remember your pay rise and end of year bonus depends on you meeting sales targets and customer satisfaction standards as laid out in the European Directive no. 17652383 part b "He-Whores, Man-Hos and Boy-Bitches: a guide to performance related pay and career development in public sector prostitution". Have you considered a sex change? With your bone structure I'm sure we could have you upgrade to a grade 2 Tranny-Fanny in no time."

Hmmm perhaps not.

Louis

P.S. The phrase "government registered prostitute" conjures up large Russian wrestling lady images for me. I'm not sure why. "You vill lie down and recieve your government standard oral sex now Mr Smith.". Double yikes.

--------------
Bye.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2006,09:48   

Government registered Louis, not government run. The government gets tax from Rock and Roll so may as well collect on the sex and drugs.

I don't see why private cars are necessary for a mobile society though. Surely we could be more mobile with a decent public transport system. At least in South East England and all major towns and cities at any rate. Plus it would have the added of value of much faster response times for the emergency services, and I pretty certain that we could get around much quicker on buses without any cars on the road. I would also imagine that it would be far simpler to convert buses to alternate fuels than cars.

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2006,14:23   

Stephan Elliot
Quote
I don't see why private cars are necessary for a mobile society though. Surely we could be more mobile with a decent public transport system. At least in South East England and all major towns and cities at any rate. Plus it would have the added of value of much faster response times for the emergency services, and I pretty certain that we could get around much quicker on buses without any cars on the road. I would also imagine that it would be far simpler to convert buses to alternate fuels than cars.
You're from the U.K., right? In the USA, we have some serious stumbling blocks to that concept. Suburbs and interstates. I do like to dream though.

Louis
Quote
What I really have no idea about is how to effectively combat it. In the really hard wired cases, no amount of evidence has an effect. This I think is one of the key elements of the "Evangelical Atheists vs Chamberlain Group" shennanigans. One of the strawmen I see being chucked around there is the "you're not going to win people over by simply pointing them to the evidence and telling them they were wrong" strawman. The same goes, as I aluded to above, for the drugs/environment etc issues. There are a huge quantity of unstated assumptions and fears that these people are operating from that simply never see the light of day. That's at least one good reason to pursue a strategy that appeals to these hidden assumptions and fears.

Yes. The debate seems to rage on over at PT represented by PZ on one side, Lenny on another and maybe Raging Bee on still another. But when this kind of crap gets put out, not answering to it is even worse than over reacting. I understand Lenny's point of not alienating people that we need to enlist in a war but I think that's a bad analogy. I think that spiritual feeling and living life are great things and all but the data you get from meditation is qualitatively different from the data you get from fieldwork in science. (Or lab work).

As a society, the line comes down on some things like drugs and prostitution through the ick factor and that seems appropriate even if misguided and not supported by evidence of harm. Did you notice the totals on the graph I posted? There's a lot of people in the U.S. I might go so far as to say that those numbers are almost statistically insignificant. It's worth checking the site to see the others. The numbers are surprising. The DEA should not be allowed to publish false information. Nor should the FDA etc. The data for global warming is similar. Libel maybe? I dunno but it's the same danm thing as ID in schools or the tax cut in the USA or Peak oil or any number of things like that.

Policy which is clearly using fudged evidence is seriously dangerous. People who are willing to accept fudged evidence because they want the outcome: Ditto.

I am still thinking. I like Dawkins' approach more and more as I think about it.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2006,15:17   

Stephen,

Oh I know what you (and indeed I) meant, for 'twas the same thing. I was merely extending the metaphor for my own sick and twisted amusement. A govt standard blow job. The very idea makes me chortle.

I agree that in the highly populated South East, major towns and cities we could almost completely do away with private transport. Sadly, the whole country (world) ain't the south east. The realities of mass transit are that they will never be capable of delivering the flexibility of access to private transport. The access to both works better than the access to just one. Change the energy source and many of the problems disappear. Again we have a transition time though. public transport has to present a viable alternative before one abandons private transport to any degree. In almost all parts of the world/country public transport simply doesn't even come close. In central London a car is a burden, in Bournemouth, Buffalo, Boca Raton, Bolivia and Budapest it's almost essential. Ok maybe not IN Budapest, but try getting out of Budapest (or London, or....) without a car. Oh it's possible, but it's much more difficult than it should be. When that changes, my car keys will disappear. Until then, they stay.

BWE,

With you on prefering the Dawkins route. As I have said though, that Richard Strawkins bloke's a right bastard. Glad he doesn't exist beyond the fevered imaginations of certain personages of note. I don't see the "not offending" strategy as mutually exclusive to the "Dawkins" strategy. I think the correct approach is a mixture of both, the proportions dependant on the situation. I also think that both "sides" of the debate (for they really don't disagree on much at all AFAICT) agree with that, and DO exactly that.

There will always be the unreachables and unteachables (AFDave, the troll etc), but who cares? They are a minority, a fruitcake mix dying due to dumb. The KKK of the future (present?). However, the only reason they appear not to be a minority is because they've been allowed to do all the shouting. Just like 18th century racists and sexists (by todays standards) they have been given free rein to behave badly. They need to be swatted over the nose by the Dawkinsian rolled up newpaper. Ok so we can give them a verbal warning first, and make nice nice in a reasonable fashion, but this won't always work, just like the newspaper won't always work.

The Prince Phillip School of Diplomacy ("The trouble with you lot is you're all foreign") is fun but rarely effective. But then no one is advocating we follow in Dennis Thatcher's or HRH Phil the Greek's footsteps. Not even that evil Evangelical Atheist bunch of whom I'm undoubtedly a member, would suggest that Philly's approach is the right one. But equally that doesn't mean that shying away from the facts is a good idea. However we CAN market them effectively, which really is all the Chamberlains are saying. What annoys me is this is exactly what the Evangelical Atheists are saying too. Two groups, seperated by a common language.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2006,10:20   

The more I think about it the more I am convinced.
Get rid of private cars and we have much more room in towns, cities and roads. Car parks could be altered. Those at rail stations could become bicycle parking. The roads could have excelent cycle lanes whilst retaining great facilities for emergency vehicles (ambulances etc).

Out and out lvl parking could become parkland and just maybe multistory car parks could be converted to affordable housing.

Who knows?

I would be willing to try

  
Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2006,11:50   

AH THOSE benefits! Yup, all in favour of those.

However those could be accomplished by reduction in necessity for private transport as opposed to abolishment. As I said, public transport need to be sufficient before we tear down beautiful multistory carparks and evocative traffic jams.

So how do we do it?

Louis

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ScaryFacts



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2006,12:04   

Quote (Louis @ Dec. 15 2006,12:50)
So how do we do it?

Human nature being what it is, people in the US won't give up their SUV's until it becomes so expensive to drive them they must switch to public transportation or to (heaven forbid) bicycles.

The only way I can see this happening is if we tax private use gas until it reaches a tipping point.  The problem I have with that plan is simply I don't think the government needs any more of my money.

Another benefit of having high transportation costs would also be the increase in cyber-commuting.  I get to work from home as a writer and my commute consists of walking from the bedroom to the den.  Not too much gasoline used to get there.

   
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2006,17:47   

Quote (ScaryFacts @ Dec. 15 2006,12:04)
The only way I can see this happening is if we tax private use gas until it reaches a tipping point.

No need.  In just a few decades, oil production will be so far past its peak that crude will be $100 a barrel, and gas will be $5/gallon, all by itself.


Me, I bike everywhere I go and haven't had a car for almost six years now.

So I'll laugh at everyone else as I peddle past the gas station.

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www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2006,18:03   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ Dec. 15 2006,17:47)
Quote (ScaryFacts @ Dec. 15 2006,12:04)
The only way I can see this happening is if we tax private use gas until it reaches a tipping point.

No need.  In just a few decades, oil production will be so far past its peak that crude will be $100 a barrel, and gas will be $5/gallon, all by itself.


Me, I bike everywhere I go and haven't had a car for almost six years now.

So I'll laugh at everyone else as I peddle past the gas station.

I have been cycling/walking/using public transport for just over a year now. Took a while to get used to it but it is just as convenient as driving (usually). Often it is better. From where I live it can sometimes take an hour to drive into Windsor town centre, yet it is only a 10-15 min walk. 20 mins if I take a slow stroll alongside the river.

Driving around here is crazy. Yet people still do it. I once drove to my girlfriends house and arived at the time of the school run. It took about 40 mins to drive the last 200 yards. When you consider that most of the people doing the school run in a car live within 1/2 mile of the school and some of them within 400 yards it is madness.

  
ScaryFacts



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2006,18:31   

I live outside of any "real" city on a hobby farm, so we need vehicles to accomplish some of the tasks we need to get done.  I ride my bike to the Wal-Mart Collective (we were assimilated several years ago) and it's only a couple miles.  I jury rigged a milk carton over the rear wheel of my bike so I can buy some groceries, etc.

But when I need hay or wood or just about anything else for the farm I have to take the truck to the store to pick it up.

I've heard the predictions of price leaps when we a certain reserve point, but I also wonder how much our affluence will act to counter the influence.

We'll see.

   
Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2006,18:59   

Hey build me a fully functioning lab in/by/under my house and I'll never leave. As it is my HUGE commute is a necessity (but not for long he he he! ).

Private transport is a necessity of the economic system the world is in. I agree wholeheartedly that public transport can compensate for most of it, and should do so. The simple fact is that it doesn't compensate for much of it at the moment. In decently organised urban areas a car is a luxury, almost totally unnecessary with even a modicum of imagination and effort. I lived for years without a car. Sadly not everyone has the personal circumstances I had at the time, and those that Stephen appears to have. The utopian ideal of no private transport is wonderful is great in principle, but let's not pretend it's representative of reality. The private vehicle is here to stay, so what we have to do is make it less necessary and less damaging. Both of which are highly acheivable in the short to near medium term.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 16 2006,02:15   

Louis,
I agree that the World we live in now can make private transport more than just a luxury. But it need not be this way. Public transport and especially busses have declined in both regularity and affordability during my lifetime and almost certainly because most people do not use it/them.

As a child growing up in Wigan we lived about 4-5 miles from the town centre. There was a bus every 5-10 mins. Took about 10-15 mins to get into the town centre by bus. Due to lack of use (people buying cars) this eventually fell to 1 bus/hour. It now takes over 40 mins to get into town by car when it is busy. Hardly an improvement.

Then when you consider all the mining/drilling/sheer raw materials it requires for almost everyone to own a car or two compared to what would be needed if almost everybody used public transport...

Also, what exactly gives a person the right to take up about 40 sq feet of space in crowded town centres?

Eeek. I think I am a Luddite.

EDIT: Lenny. Petrol is way more than $5 dollars/gallon already over here. It is probably in the region aproaching £10 dollars/gallon. People still drive.

  
guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 16 2006,06:19   

Nope, I wouldnt say your a luddite, especially if the bus your riding in is driven by flywheels or batteries.  

I really like that snippet of info.  I recall that it would take something like 40 mins to get th ebus into school in the morning when I was young.  At that time in the morning it would take you that long in a car, at least.  If not longer.  

I've just realised how weird things are getting.  We've only had widely available cars for 30 odd years, and now everyone assumes that they are an inviolable part of our culture and society, like the NHS.  Yet they arent, they're just another tool for us to use.

  
Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 16 2006,11:43   

Stephen,

I totally agree about the bus comment. 'Twas the same down south when I were a lad. My parents moved into the house they still live in about 19 years ago. The bus to town took about half the time it does now,  and went at least 3 times more frequently. However that being said, in Nottingham (the place I lived before my recent move) the bus from outside my house to the city centre goes every 15 to 20 mins, from just after 5 am to just after midnight 7 days a week. In central London the same is true, a bus or tube is available at any time to almost anywhere in the city. It's a case of where you are I think, but the general picture is, I agree, grim. Bus companies going out of business, train stations being closed etc. For over 20 years in the UK our public transport network has been expanding in the cities and dying thoughout the suburbs and countryside.

I'm not a fan of nationalisation per se, but I think that the govt should control the basic infrastructure of the nation, i.e. transport, healthcare, education, taxation, defense etc. ("What did the Romans ever do for us?"). I also very very strongly think that that is where it should stop. The government should butt out of people's private lives. Sorry Big Brother fans but nasty stuff is here to stay. All the CCTV cameras in the world won't prevent it (as recent events in Ipswich show clearly). As an aside I read an intersting piece in the Independent yesterday about the link between the govt's zero tolerance attitude to the victims of the sex trade (the prostitutes) and the ease of crimes such as those of recent days. I'm not sure I agree with all of it, but what I DO agree with is that our society (me included) do these people a terrible disservice by treating sex workers as prostitutes and criminals first and human beings second.

Louis

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Bye.

  
Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 16 2006,12:11   

The thing with railway closures etc is that it is now run by private companies. They are out to make a profit (obviously). This has meant that an awfull lot of rural branch lines have been closed. I consider this sad. The most vulnerable in society are being cut off.

Owning a car seems like a fine thing but I don't see it that way. Mass car ownership has meant that people who are physically unable to drive get a much poorer service than if private vehicles were removed.

The same is true for shops. Almost everybody now does their main shopping in huge supermarkets (myself included #### hypocrite that I am). Often located out of town. Not only does this harm small bussiness in town centres but makes it difficult for the infirm to get access.

As for prostitutes. I totally agree. I would not wish to live next door to a brothel but legalising and placing them on trading estates would get my vote.

Pretty much the same with drugs. I don't really care what people wish to do to themselves I just don't want them stealling my stuff or mugging my family to fund it.

During my lifetime technology and the way we live has changed so fast that the World I live in is totally different to the one I was born into. Some changes are for the better (eg medical advances), some for the worse(ie bloody cars/weapons) and most a double edged sword. Mobile phones for example. A godsend if you are stuck and need help in the middle-of-nowhere, a damned pest when in a restaurant etc.

When it comes to laws I think no victim=no crime.

  
MidnightVoice



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 16 2006,15:24   

One other small comment on public transport in the States.  I certain areas of the states, I would happily take Public Transport for 9 months a year if it were available.  But there are times when it is so cold here it can actually be dangerous waiting for a bus to arrive.  When you have a week where the highs are never above -20 (C or F, take you pick) hanging around waiting for a bus can be an unpleasant experince.  :D

--------------
If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip

I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands

  
BWE



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 16 2006,17:24   

Lifestyle. The more leftist among us might say good riddance and the more rightists among us might deny the science but We simply can't do without our cars in america. Population and economy and oile all rose together, intertwined and mutually dependent. The reason lenny can ride his bike is because others don't. You can't squeeze everyone that close to the things they need.

Have you ever heard of Ebenezer Howard and his garden city ideas? Have you ever been to Arcosanti in arizona? (Way cool for an old hippy artist like me).

Read up. Then go to New York.

Then go to a suburb. Anywhere there is a cul-de-sac, there won't be efficient public transportation.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
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