Thursday, January 29, 2009

Some Examples For Marshall Art

Here we have a major complaint from Marshall Art.
OK, don't give a link to support, but you don't (Geoffrey) even give a good counter argument. If you have a list of links on your blog, how hard is it to go create a link to it and put it in with the comment if you think it supports your argument?

I will start with a favorite topic of yours - taxes as theft, or at least near-theft - as an example.

First, when you present this topic, you use standard-fare boiler-plate, "It's my money not the government's, I know how to spend it better, etc., etc." which you apparently believe is both deep and meaningful. You also assume, quite wrongly, that I for one have never encountered such an argument before.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I have made the point on this topic before - as a matter of practical understanding, no state has ever existed without some form of taxation, and its obligatory status is actually quite easy to defend. Your notion that the money is "yours" is only defensible if one assumes that, on your own outside of any legal framework, defended with a monopoly of police power, could have managed not only to find work, but to maintain that work and the income without a threat from various others. This is why there are laws about all sorts of things on the books, including regulations dealing with banking and accounting practices, employment rights for workers and obligations for employers, etc., etc. To make sure the playing field is relatively even, that you get the full amount entitled to you, without fear and with full confidence, etc., etc. There is nothing in either history or political thought to defend the position you have taken on multiple occasions that taxation in the United States constitutes a "taking", is unduly burdensome, or what have you. One can have many quibbles on the question of taxation - including whether regressive or progressive taxation is preferable - but even here there is enough data and studies available to make the case for progressive taxes as far more conducive both to economic growth as well as personal savings.

This is an old argument; I first took Macro- and Micro-Economics in high school back in 1982-1983. I also took a class in political philosophy in college in the spring semester of 1986. The Republican position on taxation has been hashed and rehashed for years, and my own position is clear and has been for a long time. For example, whenever I read someone claiming that lowered tax rates increase revenues, since that is a demonstrably false assertion, that calls in to question the credibility of the entire argument that person is making. It is easy enough to figure out if this is true, and since it is almost immediately discovered to be false, then a person who makes that assertion is either intellectually lazy or deliberately lying; although "both" is a possible conclusion as well, it seems to me we are usually faced with these two choices.

As for what my sources on the relationship between the individual, the state, the specific issue of taxation, and the more general issue of the intersecting rights and obligations of state and citizen, consult, in no particular order, Grotius, Thomas Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, the Federalist Papers, and more contemporary thinkers such as John Rawls.

Climate Change
You wanted a source on global warming? Here you go. Once again, I do not "argue" or "discuss" the issue of human-induced (anthropogenic is the correct term of art) climate change, any more than I debate Holocaust deniers, or those who deny evolution by natural selection. Once does not argue about facts.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in 1995 that “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate”; and that the accumulations of greenhouse gases are behind the marked global warming trend of the past 20 years. Its case was based on two pillars: the known physical heat-capturing properties of the greenhouse gases that are accumulating in the atmosphere, and the detailed patterns of average temperature change in the atmosphere, which mirrored that predicted by global climate models.

Emission rates for the most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas, CO2, have risen 120-fold in the past 150 years2. Whereas in the 19th century emissions were overwhelmingly from deforestation and other landuse changes, they are now predominantly from burning fossil fuels. A direct product of industrialization, emissions now amount to 6 billion tons of carbon a year, or around 1 ton of carbon per head of the world’s population. But emissions are very uneven. Per-capita North American emissions are 18 times those of Africa, nine times those of Asia and 2.3 times those of Europe3. Low gasoline prices and the pervasive automobile culture in the United States ensure that its CO2 output, already the highest in the world, is continuing to rise, while levels in much of Europe are stable or falling.

Total emissions of greenhouse gases, including CO2 from deforestation and agricultural emissions of methane, are more evenly distributed. For instance, Germany emits three times more CO2 than Brazil from burning fossil fuels. But Brazil’s total emissions of greenhouse gases now probably exceed Germany’s, thanks largely to emissions from deforestation4.

Unless the world curbs growing CO2 output, concentrations in the air are likely to double from pre-industrial levels by 2080, and may warm the world by 3oC. Climate models predict that land areas will warm twice as much as the oceans; high latitudes will warm more quickly in winter; and there will be substantial changes in precipitation, especially in the tropics5.

There is nothing political here; this is nothing more than a listing of facts, the presentation of the bare-bones of an outline of a scientific theory.

As to how a scientific theory is used, I shall just cite the following example, with the abstract below.
As the Earth warms, many species are likely to disappear, often because of changing disease dynamics. Here we show that a recent mass extinction associated with pathogen outbreaks is tied to global warming. Seventeen years ago, in the mountains of Costa Rica, the Monteverde harlequin frog (Atelopus sp.) vanished along with the golden toad (Bufo periglenes). An estimated 67% of the 110 or so species of Atelopus, which are endemic to the American tropics, have met the same fate, and a pathogenic chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is implicated. Analysing the timing of losses in relation to changes in sea surface and air temperatures, we conclude with 'very high confidence' (> 99%, following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC) that large-scale warming is a key factor in the disappearances. We propose that temperatures at many highland localities are shifting towards the growth optimum of Batrachochytrium, thus encouraging outbreaks. With climate change promoting infectious disease and eroding biodiversity, the urgency of reducing greenhouse-gas concentrations is now undeniable.

Now, this is science.

This, however, is not.
[I]f you wish an example of how the scientific process works - as opposed to how dishonest and fraudulent global warming science has become -- you need look no further than CERN and how scientists are responding to questions about their data.

They are not standing up and calling the skeptics "nazis." They are not saying that their detractors are paid mouthpieces for opposing interests. They are not trying to shut scientific opponents out of debate.

They are acting like real scientists and reworking their hypotheses, double checking their data, answering their critics, and challenging their own beliefs. This has been the way of true science for 500 years in the western world. And it stands in stark contrast to those who follow the global warming belief system who seek to silence any opposition to their dogmatic pronouncements by claiming "the debate is over" or making other equally unscientific observations.

The biggest problem with this particular passage in the linked article, for me, is this - it is simply factually untrue to say that anthropogenic climate change is not challenges, since even a high school science student understands that every time a scientific theory is used as a model for an experiment, there is an implicit test of the viability of that theory. Furthermore, to argue as the author here does, that global warming skeptics are dismissed as "nazis" is not only untrue, it is irrelevant. They are dismissed because they are not using science; they routinely falsify data and use poor research methods, and their conclusions are at odds with the conclusions of other researchers using the same methods and data (for an example of all these egregious errors, and the criticisms of them, and the resultant whining, just click here)

Look, Marshall, it makes no nevermind to me whether or not you believe that confiscatory taxation is immoral, or that anthropogenic climate change is a farce. I don't even care if you deny that human beings landed on the Moon. What irks me no end is the following. I am under no obligation to provide you with every source for every thing I say. This is a blog, not an academic journal. Also, you are mistaken when you claim that our arguments have no evidentiary support. Indeed, Dan, Alan, ER, I and others quite frequently complain that, after having typed rather detailed posts, you either misunderstand them or dismiss them out of hand, ascribing to us things we neither believe, nor have ever said, including most assuredly motives and insinuations that bear no resemblance to anything we have said.

In other words, when you say our arguments are not supported by evidence, you have yet to provide any real evidence that is the case, while those of whom you make this claim have abundant evidence. All anyone needs to do is check out the long comment threads on your posts at your blog and form their own conclusions.

Again, I am under no obligation to provide you with links to anything. I am under no obligation to say "by what authority" I take whatever positions I take. My own authority is quite good enough for me, thank you very much.

Virtual Tin Cup

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More