Hobbes on climate change

Via HT I find Kerry Emanuel saying:

I think debate is good but we should be debating points that are actually debatable

and who could disagree with that? But the problem is who gets to say what is debatable. You and I know, of course. But the wackoes don’t [What is the Plural of “wacko”? Is it -oes or -os? And what about “Bozoes” – that looks wrong]. Or rather, it is impossible to distinguish from outside their heads the difference between “this is debatable” and “I’m going to force you to debate this if I can, either because it plays well or in order to avoid debating real issues” (compare For if a man pretend to me that God hath spoken to him supernaturally, and immediately, and I make doubt of it, I cannot easily perceive what argument he can produce to oblige me to believe it).

The connection to Hobbes is that he argues, for example, that if you let someone “independent” interpret your laws, then that person or group is effectively sovereign; and therefore argues for all judges to be effectively the person of the sovereign, delegated (as I believe was the theory in England, but no more). With no-one wielding the civil sword to decide questions such as “what is debatable” there is no law in this area, no compact, and thus effectively a state of war. Which is exactly what we see.

[Updated: to include sea ice pic and link to Neven.]

Refs

* Calvin and

Hobbes again, and 400 ppm CO2

I haven’t been nice to Hobbes for a bit, so:

When God speaketh to man, it must be either immediately or by mediation of another man, to whom He had formerly spoken by Himself immediately. How God speaketh to a man immediately may be understood by those well enough to whom He hath so spoken; but how the same should be understood by another is hard, if not impossible, to know. For if a man pretend to me that God hath spoken to him supernaturally, and immediately, and I make doubt of it, I cannot easily perceive what argument he can produce to oblige me to believe it.

There. Isn’t that wonderful? It so beautifully turns around the “You say God told you that but I think you’re a fraud” into “I really can’t see how you could convince me of that”. There is more, of course. [[Leviathan (book)]] provides an intro, and as it happens I wrote it (or almost all of it) and it has survived remarkably well. The section Of a Christian Common-wealth is good fun: here Hobbes tries to make a case for which books of the Bible you can reliably believe in, but (much like Popper on rationalism) is eventually obliged (oh dear, he really didn’t want to go that way 🙂 to provide an external authority to decide which books can be trusted: the Civil Power in his case, of course.

Ah, and now of course I’ve remembered what I actually intended to write about: Atmoz’s 400 ppm CO2 challenge! Off you go; I haven’t made my mind up yet.