Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Pascal and Climate Change

Today’s Oz published the following in its letters page –

I agree with Don Aitkin that managing water and finding alternatives to oil-based energy are two huge environmental issues, but that's where our consensus ends.

I believe a version of Pascal's wager (as referred to by Aitkin) does hold true in regard to climate change. If we spend lots of time and money developing cleaner energy solutions and, in the process, we lower worldwide GDP by less than 1 per cent (as suggested is likely by Nicholas Stern and others) and then find out the science was wrong, we have a cleaner, healthier, smarter, more comfortable world to live in and hand on. The reduction of wealth will be imperceptible. On the other hand, if we judge the science to be wrong now and take little action, and the science is ultimately proven to be right, it's too late.

Dean Comber Camp Hill, Qld

This nails it pretty well for me. Pascal posits that it is a better "bet" to believe that God exists than not to believe, because the expected value of believing (which Pascal assessed as infinite) is always greater than the expected value of not believing. In Pascal's assessment, it is inexcusable not to investigate this issue:
I believe the same holds for climate change, even if the issue has been over-hyped to the point of absurdity.

Monday, 7 April 2008


Walking and driving are two activities that I enjoy. This has not always been the case. I’ve always enjoyed getting behind the wheel of a car, but walking has not always been a passion. It paled somewhat after months of tromping through the scrub with a heavy pack on my back and a rifle in my hand back in 1970. The fact that mines were strewn about and determined guerillas were intent on mischief also spoiled the experience a bit.

These days, I’m fortunate to live in an environment that provides lots of opportunities to both walk and drive in a pristine bushland setting, and I’m making the most of it. A daily drive to a different track each day eliminates boredom and encourages new discoveries.

Generally I’m by myself, because my wife says I walk too fast, and my daughter would prefer to stay in bed. There’s usually plenty of feathered company, particularly on the escarpment. This morning it was greenies and magpies.
On my ramblings I saw a disgruntled looking magpie. I’m not sue why he looked unhappy, as the early morning fragrance of the bush, the warmth of the sun, and the interesting colours all provided a great lift for the spirit.

The photo doesn’t do it justice. I used my mobile phone. Taking photos with these things provides a result commensurate with trying to have a phone conversation on a digital camera.

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