Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The view from our camp on December 25, 2006:
Same view (at a slightly wider angle) this morning:
You can walk on that ice. Actually, you could drive a truck on that ice.
Better your truck than mine.
Perhaps that could be defined as a difference between capitalism and socialism/fascism. Capitalism' "I'll drive my truck on the ice when I damn well please." Socialism: "You WILL drive your truck on the ice. NOW!
I agree with Boludo that the precautionary principle should be applied. There's good reason to think driving a truck out there, so we shouldn't do it. That's the safe bet.
The risky bet is barge ahead.
"Re: Precautionary Principle."
The 'pre-cautionary principle' is an excuse for cowardice. Or more philosophically, a rationalization for inaction in the face of risk. 'We don't have a consensus that nothing bad will happen, so let's do nothing.'
A simplified, Pascal's Wager-style, cost-benefit analysis is not the only way to look at things. There are more than two options. Always.
Not to pick a fight with Mr. Schmidt. I just hate that principle. The willingness to take risks is an engine of human development and ingenuity, and the dissolution of that willingness is a death knell of a healthy civilization.
The precautionary principle is a cowardly way to avoid a risk benefit analysis by denying that there might be a benefit.
Maybe somebody has fallen through the ice and a truck would help getting them out and getting them to a hospital to treat hypothermia.
I'd say the principle is similar to the medical principle, "First, do no harm."
Especially when it applies to other people.
I'd agree that it can be applied too simplistically though, and that sometimes you have to take risks. For example, if we do nothing about greenhouse gas emissions for a few generations, we may be in so much trouble that we'll have to roll the dice on geoengineering and hope it works out.
(Dawnfire - feel free to disagree with me, I don't mind....)
Actually the oft ignored principle of "Primum, Non Nocere" refers to the simple edict of not doing something idiotic and dnagerous if you are otherwise not sure of a diagnosis.
Akin to prescribing an antibiotic blindly, or doing exploratory surgery for a trivial condition.
....or, in this case, massively altering the world economy without clear evidence that one is correcting a wrong or preventing a disaster.