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Michael Shermer - The Believing Brain
Posted: 09 June 2011 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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I’m not sure if it’s a real term, but an entropic bubble is an abundance of a potential resource that an organism may evolve to exploit (and in doing so would increase the entropy production rate of the ecosystem). If there is a larger amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, and plants can reach it, doesn’t that mean plants have more CO2 to consume and grow? If this is a real phenomenon, is it taken into account in climate models?

dougsmith - 09 June 2011 10:00 AM
domokato - 09 June 2011 09:56 AM

There’s also nature itself, which has self-correcting mechanisms.

Which are those?

You’re right, I suppose those are still hypothetical. Here is at least some evidence in support: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisyworld#Modifications_to_the_original_simulation

EDIT: some of my ideas come from this: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/10754/

[ Edited: 09 June 2011 12:28 PM by domokato ]
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Posted: 09 June 2011 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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domokato - 09 June 2011 11:56 AM

You’re right, I suppose those are still hypothetical. Here is at least some evidence in support: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisyworld#Modifications_to_the_original_simulation

EDIT: some of my ideas come from this: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/10754/

Yeah, I mean, that isn’t evidence in support. It’s a thought experiment showing planetary ‘self correction’ is conceivable for one variable under one absurdly simplistic condition. The background problem here is that the Gaia hypothesis is basically woo. A good discussion of it was published in 2005 in Skeptical Inquirer by Massimo Pigliucci. I find a copy of what he wrote available HERE.

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Posted: 09 June 2011 02:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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dougsmith - 09 June 2011 12:52 PM
domokato - 09 June 2011 11:56 AM

You’re right, I suppose those are still hypothetical. Here is at least some evidence in support: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisyworld#Modifications_to_the_original_simulation

EDIT: some of my ideas come from this: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/10754/

Yeah, I mean, that isn’t evidence in support. It’s a thought experiment showing planetary ‘self correction’ is conceivable for one variable under one absurdly simplistic condition. The background problem here is that the Gaia hypothesis is basically woo. A good discussion of it was published in 2005 in Skeptical Inquirer by Massimo Pigliucci. I find a copy of what he wrote available HERE.

Thanks, but it occurs to me that I had something more simple in mind. As I went over in a previous post, CO2 increase means more resources for plants. So shouldn’t plant growth create a negative feedback loop for CO2 in the atmosphere? (More CO2 -> more plants -> less CO2)?

*does a google search*

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100503161435.htm

Interesting. Looks like they have taken plants into account in this model, and it seems to actually increase warming, although it does not say what it does to CO2 levels, nor does it take into account possible evolution of plants.

Edit: Google returns very limited results for this search. Essentially one article

A Google scholar search returned this: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.arplant.48.1.609 , which looks relevant, but not free to read :(

[ Edited: 09 June 2011 02:46 PM by domokato ]
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“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

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Posted: 09 June 2011 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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Well right, more CO2 will mean more resources for plants. But I don’t know anyone who has suggested the plants will be able to absorb all the additional CO2 we put out.

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Posted: 10 June 2011 04:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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dougsmith - 09 June 2011 03:11 PM

Well right, more CO2 will mean more resources for plants. But I don’t know anyone who has suggested the plants will be able to absorb all the additional CO2 we put out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeling_Curve

If you look at the Keeling curve you see a sine wave superimposed on the rising line.  That sine wave is caused by the life cycle of plants.  They absorb carbon during the spring and release most of it back in the fall.  We would need plants that absorb carbon and do not release it back.

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Posted: 10 June 2011 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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What’s so great about self-correction???  First of all, degenerative feedback need not null out a perturbation, but just reduce it—quite possibly not enough.  Meanwhile, through the course of self-correction, none of us might see preservation.

“The Earth has a skin and that skin has diseases, one of its diseases is called man.” —Nietzsche

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Posted: 11 June 2011 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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Early on in the interview during the discussion of global warming, Shermer said that he prefers bottom-up approaches to top-down approaches—but it was interesting that he listed tax incentives as one of those bottom-up approaches.  I’d consider tax structure, even if the taxes are Pigovian taxes, to be a top-down approach, though they do offer more freedom in how to respond than direct regulation.

Does Shermer support a “cap-and-tax” or a “cap-and-trade” regime, or perhaps even a carbon tax?

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Posted: 13 June 2011 08:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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illrationalist - 09 June 2011 04:38 AM

This show imo seemed to have a gapping inconsistency, in one breath we are told that there is an evolutionary advantage to reacting to patterns because they might represent danger, in the next breath we are told to do not about the acknowledge problem of global warming.  By this logic the human race is doomed to wait to long, which is analagious to seeing a tiger acknowledging the tiger but doing nothing about the tiger so that the tiger eats not only us as an individual but also a large percentage of our population.  Ostrichism at its worse.

Precisely the thought that I had while listening to this interview.  I’m surprised no one else pointed that out.

[ Edited: 13 June 2011 08:23 AM by scinquiry ]
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Posted: 13 June 2011 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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domokato - 09 June 2011 02:29 PM

Thanks, but it occurs to me that I had something more simple in mind. As I went over in a previous post, CO2 increase means more resources for plants. So shouldn’t plant growth create a negative feedback loop for CO2 in the atmosphere? (More CO2 -> more plants -> less CO2)?

The way that plants and microscopic animals take CO2 out of the atmosphere in the long term is by plants using CO2 to create carbon based structures that get deposited at the bottom of swamps, lakes, or oceans and then get covered up by either more carbon based material or sediment.  Usually, plants decay and the carbon is released back into the environment.  It would take special conditions to get buried permanently (like a peat bog or shallow ocean where plants cannot decay).  Another way is for ocean based life forms to use carbon and calcium to make shells using Calcium Carbonate.  The old shells get deposited at the bottom of the ocean and build up over time to eventually form limestone.  Either of these two processes are slow, not as fast as man is putting the carbon back into the environment.

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Posted: 13 June 2011 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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@brightfut. Thanks, that makes a lot of sense

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“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

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Posted: 15 July 2011 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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Why do AGW activists focus solely on the hard scientific problems raised by AGW and ignore recent social science (psychology, anthropology, etc.) research showing the futility of an activist approach to gaining the necessary public support for radical AGW solutions?  It should be obvious from this research that if the worst case or even near worst case scenarios for AGW are accurate then the case is simply hopeless since the impossibility of turning around global society to the necessary degree in the given time period is clear.  However, if the AGW problems are less severe and the AGW activists persist in pushing for solutions that cannot be made socially acceptable then they run the risk of antagonizing the powers-that-be to the extent that they provoke social upheavals (war, totalitarianism, etc.) that will themselves tip the AGW balance to worst case scenario levels.

So how do you apply the “precautionary principle”? Overactivism has its own risks even before we try to account for all the other problems - needing “precautionary principle” levels of attention - that could benefit if provided some of the resources lost due to mistaken overemphasis on AGW activism. 

Isn’t it time that “hard” and “soft” scientific approaches to the AGW problms were coordinated?

lff

[ Edited: 16 July 2011 03:42 AM by lff ]
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Posted: 15 July 2011 08:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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The podcast was well done and timely as it relates to our current political problems but I also really enjoyed the Shermer and Colbert dialogue on same.
http://www.colbertnation.com/video/tags/Michael+Shermer

Artificial intelligence is an oxymoron.

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful. - Seneca (ca. 4 BC –AD 65)

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Posted: 16 July 2011 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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gray1 - 15 July 2011 08:38 PM

Artificial intelligence is an oxymoron.

An oxymoron is a hyperventilated idiot.

psik

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