Thursday, August 10, 2006

Millenarianism and fatalism are perhaps economic reactions to change, but it's also innate in the human character to hope beyond hope, even when comes the deluge. Bryan Caplan asks, why worry?

There's not enough time in the day for me to know enough about all of these disasters to doubt them on their specific merits. But I do it anyway. How do I justify it?

The superficial reason is that people are trying to get attention, which leads to a "race to the scariest story." That's true, but it hardly seems strong enough to justify my blanket skepticism. The fact that people exaggerate hardly proves that the end is not nigh.

My deep reason is simpler: The fact that we've gotten as far as we have shows that true disaster must be extremely rare. Unless fears almost always failed to materialize, we'd already be back in the Stone Age, or plain extinct. It's overwhelmingly unlikely that we've gotten lucky a million times in a row. Thus, unlike my co-blogger, I think there is a good reason to expect global warming models to be milder than models predict. Namely: As a rule, disasters are milder than predicted.

In other words, we're still here, aren't we?

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