The Most Terrifying Whiteboard Presentation You’ll Ever See

by alphamonkey on June 12, 2007 · 10 comments

in Uncategorized

You know, we’ve done some serious de-batin’ over the subject of global climate change (or global warming, or as I like to call it Nancy Drew and the Case of the ‘Oh Shit, We’re All Dead’ Epidemic of Pirate Cove ), and what’s always struck me as odd is that, regardless of one’s knowledge or trust in the science involved, how anyone might argue that doing nothing in the face of uncertainty is somehow wiser than, you know, doing anything.  So to that end, I present you with this wonderful (and engaging) clip of a man who uses an exceptionally well respected philosophical and logical device (Pascal’s Wager, to be precise) to illustrate the best self-determined path to deciding what constitutes our best choice as a species.

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  • BADD

    Are you trying to goad me into a fight?  I am going to stew on this for a little, before I respond.

  • BADD

    Does anyone believe that Pascal’s wager is a valid tool for finding true meaning and understanding of any issue (religious, political, etc, etc….)?

    If you do, you may want to go to the bottom of that page AM linked to about Pascal, and read the arguments against Pascal’s ways of thinking.

    This way of thinking (over simplifying) is very dangerous.


    Does bologna exist?

    If I believe in Bologna and it exists, I can eat it.  If I believe in Bologna and it doesn’t, I go hungry.

    If I don’t believe in Bologna and it does exist, well lookie here something to eat!  If I don’t believe in Bologna and it doesn’t exist, I still starve to death.

    What is your first question after reading that example?

    It should be:

    Why don’t you eat something else?

    Well following the rules of the above line of thinking there is simply no other choice.  I can not eat ham, I can not be Muslim, nor can we find a more sensible way to avoid AGW. 

    More some other time…..

  • BADD

    Oh btw, here is another fan of Pascal’s Wager…


  • .alphamonkey.

    I think you’re lumping Pascal’s Wager into the realm of false syllogism with your examples, and furthermore not taking into account the speaker’s advice to build out your own model, with as many shades of grey as you wish.

    What I’d really interested in seeing, however engaging semantical debates can be, is some plain answers as to why acting towards reducing humankind’s muddy footprint upon the world is a bad thing, regardless of GCC.

  • BADD

    Um… I am not.

    As I said above, if you read the criticisms of Pascal’s Wager, you will understand my point above.  He is using Pascal’s way of thinking to a tee and I don’t think I need to explain what is flawed in the logical assumptions Pascal used to make his wager when others explain it so much better than I.

  • elkciN

    I don’t think that looking into and adopting more natural energy sources could reall be a ‘bad’ thing, in any case.

    Unless, of course, you’re an oil tycoon. Or, you know, someone who gets money from an oil tycoon. But, come on, it’s not like those people have any say in our energy policies….right?

  • BADD

    Why is it when someone disagrees with the way “conservationists” decide to put their message forth, they are immediately assumed to be against conservation, and reducing pollution?

    I am all for those things, and will gladly do my part to help our society become more ecologically friendly, and conserve energy.  In fact I do that already to some degree by keeping electronic equipment off, and driving a high efficiency vehicle.  If at some point more is required of me to continue to aid the movement, I will gladly help.  So please, do not discount my point of view by lumping me in with oil doused money grubbing crude barons just because I won’t believe some jerk off trying to convince me AGW exists and will destroy us all, with a logically crippled set of boxes and columns.  Come at me with some real facts, or an actually viable theory and we will talk. 

    Again, more later….

  • elkciN

    Hey now, that wasn’t directed at you. Unless you’re one of…you know….’them’.


    You keep your facts to yourself, I’ll stick with my patented ‘ignorant jackassery’. Take it up with Pascal, he’s the bastard here.

  • BADD

    Sorry Nickle, that wasn’t all for you in any way, it is just a bit of steam I was releasing as it seems every time I get into these kinds of discussions, I am immediately lumped in with the “AGW is fiction” crowd.

    The world has been getting warmer, we know that.  We have been wasteful with our resources, that is fact.  We need to become more responsible beings, if not because of AGW, then for the simple fact that we will be preserving our quality of life on this planet. 

    I would gladly take this to Pascal with a vengeance, but he is dead.

  • elkciN

    You could probably take him. He wouldn’t even see it coming.

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