Sunday, December 02, 2007

Some heresies from Freeman Dyson

See here, and this 2005 U Michigan commencement address.

Will Dyson get Watsonized, or are these heresies insufficiently dangerous?

..all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. ... I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. ... They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in.


...I say the United States has less than a century left of its turn as top nation. Since the modern nation-state was invented, about the year 1500, a succession of countries have taken turns as top nation. First it was Spain, then France, then and Britain, than America. Each term lasted about 150 years. Ours began in 1920 so it should end about 2070.

The reason why each top nation's term comes to an end is that the top nation becomes overextended militarily, economically and politically. Greater and greater efforts are required to maintain the number one position. Finally, the overextension becomes so extreme that the whole structure collapses. Already we can see in the American posture today some clear symptoms of overextension.

Who will be the next top nation? It might be the European Union or it might be China. After that it might be India or Brazil. You should be asking yourself not how to live in an America-dominated world, but how to prepare for a world that is not America dominated. That may be the most important problem for your generation to solve. How does a people who think of themselves as number one yield gracefully to become number two? So I'm telling you misfortunes are on the way.


rod said...

These are indeed strong opinions, but do they qualify as heresies? Dyson is far from being Watsonized, IMHO.

- climate change: I believe we should be open to opinions other than "the world is getting warm and we're doomed". The anti global warming people can be like the Inquisition sometimes, and they mix Science with Ideology, a dangerous mix. The climate is governed by non-linear PDEs, and it's pretty obvious that the Human development and carbon emissions have perturbed the climate dynamics. Nevertheless, no computer model can predict the future. We should bring emissions down because we are perturbing Nature, not just because of global warming... because global warming does not quite describe what is happening: warm places are getting warmer, cold places are getting colder, dry places are getting drier, and wet places are getting wetter. What we have is a climate crisis.

- a nation's destiny is to have memories, not empires. While China and India made important developments, Europe was living dark ages... now the western world thinks that Indians and Chinese are meant to be poor forever. The USA will become number 2 sooner or later, and I don't pity the spoilt American brats who are too lazy to adapt. The future belongs to those who are willing to build it, not to those who feel they are entitled to own it.

Anonymous said...


There is an interesting sort of person who is evidently not bothered by the lunatic expression of prejudice by a person who has often expressed lunatic prejudice, and who can do endless harm if not confronted.

Some of my best friends however are.... Yuch!


Sunny said...

Just off the top of my head, I remember reading on one of the writers argued that climate scientists should be MORE vocal about their results - as in they should sound more "alarmist" to the general public. (It's a fairly recent article so I think you can find it on the front page there)

I tend to agree. If my memory serves me right I think climate models failed to predict how quickly the Greenland ice sheets are disappearing (I think it's also the case with mountain snow caps). I think the models may be underestimating how devestating climate change can be.

I doubt that he can be enough of a d-bag to be "Watsonized", however. James Watson is truly one of a kind (and not in a good way).

mike s said...

you are not going to have to wait for the USA to become number two.

watch this intelligent well published and respected reporter, Naomi Wolf's interview on youtube and ask yourself what will happen just before next novembers election

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