These days I got aware of a young man going viral on YouTube, claiming the debate for global warming might be completely unnecessary. As a heretic, I got curious and watched his speech. Well, I must admit, at first I was nearly impressed. “Nobody has ever been able to put a hole in his argument”. Wow. Watch the whole video here (the magic starts at 1:28):
Impressive, isn’t it? Especially, since he seems so balanced, freely admitting, that climate isn’t fully understood and the scenario isn’t bulletproof – thus the true/false grid. Finally somebody who is not dogmatic, clinging faithfully to the outmost edge of his belief!
But wait … what does he do? I’m pretty sure we all agree on the upper quadrants. No questions here. For the lower right quadrant I might agree as well, especially, since he is rightfully relativizing the armageddon szenario: “Yes, mankind will survive, but with a more painful life”. But what does he do to the lower left quadrant? If global climate change exists and we take action there will be happyness – although at a cost? Bold move, especially since climate is yet not fully understood and can’t even be reliably predicted at this time. How can we then assume that taking action will change anything, let alone solve the problem? The result may as well be the same havoc as predicted on the right. Now he is canceling down options and summing up results, coming to the conclusion that the only responsible solution is to take action, since the risk of taking none is much higher.
Impressive and quite convincing on the first view. Until one corrects the error, he made before (just add “armageddon” to the lower left quadrant), and suddenly the odds are even again, the risk evenly shared and we’re back to the beginning.
In fact, the true result is: “We don’t know.”
I don’t want to elaborate on the discussion if global change is existant or not or if we should take action or not.
What I want to demonstrate is, that reducing complex scenarios to utmost basics can lead to complete misleading results if there’s just one little error in the calculation. Sounds a bit like a butterfly effect, uh?
Remember the snake oil traders that roamed the wild west, always traveling around to avoid the risk of being hung when staying too long in the same town? Well, with his kind of argument we can finally rehabilitate those poor merchants and show that they were completely misjudged.
Also we can prove that belief is mandatory (in whatever god):
… and that Fernando Magellan was an irresponsible hazadeur.
And finally – and that is, what I will incorporate in *any* presentation right now – I can finally prove that it is “alternativlos” to hire our company for a fair fee because it’s the only responsible choice. Purchase departments, beware!