From: David Okner
Date:12/30/2014 11:00 PM (GMT-06:00)
Subject: Re: Moral Case for Fossil Fuels
And I’ll respond to your response:
1. The first and biggest point is you didn’t actually read my submission, which was the book. I suggest you debate Alex Epstein, not me. I know the book is a lot, but just say you don’t want to read it rather than invoking logical fallacies.
Take a one look at Alex Epstein's history and it easy to see this issue is entirely false.
The first clue is his education - a B.A. in philosophy. Where are his scientific credentials to justify his claim he is smarter than all of the world's climate scientists are wrong? Answer: He has none.
2. Seriously? This is a logical fallacy and actually a philosophy background is exactly the best background to have to make sure everything has been integrated to look at the big picture and thought of correctly. That doesn’t come from credentials though. Climate experts are just one area of expertise. If you had any background in philosophy you would know that science is based on philosophy, reason. Perhaps you wouldn’t use so many logical fallacies if you were familiar with logic. Smarter than all the world’s climate scientists? Are you serious? Is that how you think science works? You just give an intelligence test and then whoever is the smartest then whatever he says is true? Also, Alex is not a climate scientist, he is showing you the work of the “smartest climate scientists” you advocate. Alex never said he was smarter than the world’s climate scientists. What you are saying is that you are an authority to be obeyed, not an expert to be consulted.
The next clue? He actually brags about working for the fossil fuel industry. It is not surprising he will simply, out-right lie for them. Which he does. For instance:
“One point I like to stress is that we should think of coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear, as clean energy.”
Nothing about fossil fuels could possibly be further from the truth. I won't mince words, anyone saying this is a liar. All of these energy sources listed are lethal poisons. Now, don't misunderstand me, I am not saying we need to get rid of them, I am simply pointing out they are lethal poisons and not 'clean' as Mr. Epstein wants you to believe. The only possible reason he would say something like that is to deceive because there is just no truth to that statement. Hopefully, even the deniers can recognize the truth to that.
3. Again, character attacks. Logical fallacies. I could also attack your character and dream up hidden motives which are irrelevant anyway. The idea that the only way somebody would support fossil fuels is if they are paid off is ridiculous. You are looking for hidden motives and not examining the arguments in the book. And likewise the only reason somebody would oppose fossil fuels is because they are paid off is equally ridiculous in credit to your side. That is not a valid argument.
I watched his video and I can sum it up with one word - ridiculous. He begins right away with crazy claims that you are required to accept as truthful without any supporting references or evidence. Not only is it filled with nontruths (It is good the world uses fossil fuels and it would better if we used more), but is, in essence, an enormous bait and switch.
4. The book is full of references, which you would know if you actually read it. Just say you don’t want to read it instead of making ridiculous logical fallacies. Debate Alex if you don’t want to read his book. Show everybody how wrong his thinking is.
Here is the fallacy in Mr. Epstein's entire argument - he wants you to believe the only kind of energy source are fossil fuels. He states, 'the truth must be exposed'. Well, here is the truth about Mr. Epstein's argument - it isn't fossil fuels that have improved lifestyles, it is available energy at affordable prices, but Mr. Epstein wants you to believe the only source of that energy is fossil fuels. That is the big lie he is selling. He continues the lie by wanting you to believe it is a good thing for us to change the environment and we need to do as much to change the environment as we possibly can.
5. No fossil fuels aren’t the only source. There is nuclear too, but that doesn’t cause greenhouse gasses, so who cares. If you read the book you would know that fossil fuels are the cheap, reliable and plentiful source of energy, which is what matters when it comes to energy. Energy that doesn’t meet these requirements isn’t very useful. You can get energy from a lot of things, but who cares.
Yes, no one will deny that fossil fuels have provided affordable energy in the past, but now it is no longer true. The total cost of fossil fuels has become unacceptable. The amount of damage to the environment and climate and the world economies has reached proportions that it is lowering standards of living around the world (contrary to his claims) and is resulting in increased deaths (also contrary to his claims). Don't take my work for it, do a little research for yourself. Here is just one study on the matter. And, another. How about this one? Or, this one? And, don't forget this.
6. No, fossil fuels are the cheapest, most abundant and reliable source of energy. Weather disasters happen and thanks to fossil fuels climate related deaths from all the kinds you mentioned are at a record low. There is no comparison. This is the issue of looking at the big picture. You can’t ignore the positives and being philosophically minded like Alex and myself allows one to make sure the big picture is being integrated and being thought of properly. The first chapter of the book is free. http://www.moralcaseforfossilfuels.com
So, Alex Epstein is accepting funds from the biggest polluters the world has ever seen and telling us this pollution is not only good for us, but we need to do more.
7. What? More character attacks about motives and also ignoring the big picture? Pollution is at an all time low thanks to modern filtering technology and also you can’t ignore the positives of fossil fuels. It is wind and solar that are dangerous to our environment because they can’t provide cheap, reliable and plentiful energy and of course they pollute too. If we were to switch to those our environment would be destroyed and our protection from climate danger would be almost non existant. Hundreds of millions would die if we followed your ideas. People who love what fossil fuels do for our lives pay Alex for his ideas. The reason is because we don’t want our environment destroyed and climate danger to drastically increase because of your bad ideas. Can you fault us for loving our environment and wanting to live and thrive on Earth?
A point made in the book is that some people have humans as their standard of value and want to improve our environment. Others have a totally different standard which is based on minimizing impact on “the environment”, which means sacrificing humans for a untouched Earth out of a bias against what humans do as morally wrong. If you want to minimizing impact on our environment then I think Alex would agree with you that we should stop using fossil fuels. But I and others in humanity want to maximize our impact on our environment and do so in an extremely positive way so humanity can thrive, because that is our standard of value. They are his ideas, just like your ideas are yours. People who like your ideas pay you for your ideas. The question is who has the right ideas. You don’t examine the ideas, you use logical fallacies to evade.
Read the book if you care about the issue. There is no other book that addresses the heart of the subject directly and in the big picture. The first chapter is free: http://www.moralcaseforfossilfuels.com
One thing you are correct about is that I did not read the book and I won’t be. That is pretty close to the only thing you are correct about. Here are some references I consulted on the topic:
No, I am not going to read the book. I don’t need to. It is easy for people to tell a book’s claim is false without reading it – such as books that claim the Moon landings were faked, the Holocaust didn’t happen, Elvis Presley is alive and we are holding aliens captive in Area 51. For the record, yes, I am grouping this piece of work in with those others and I apologize to those other authors for including Alex Epstein in with them. Those others are merely nuts, not overtly harmful.
No, the best background to integrate science is a science one. You continue to demonstrate your logic failure by assuming I don’t have a background in philosophy. I do. And, no, I did not use a logical fallacy by criticizing Mr. Epstein’s credentials. Would you allow a philosophy major to perform surgery? Why not? After all, according to you, it is the best background to integrate all of the issues to obtain the big picture. I mean, don’t you want your surgeon to have the big picture when he’s standing out your wide-open body? To answer my questions for you, just to make sure you get them correctly – No, I want a surgeon that knows the science and has the skills to perform the job. Same thing with science. It takes decades of hard work to obtain the necessary skills. Mr. Epstein simply decided one day that reading Aristotle and Kant was enough to be able to prove all of the world’s scientists wrong. We aren’t even talking about climate scientists alone because he isn’t limiting himself to the single most complicated science of all, he’s taking on all of science and all scientists everywhere. There’s a term for that in philosophy – hubris.
Showing someone’s motives is not only valid, but is critically important. Why is someone saying the things they are saying? We have learned, from Mr. Epstein himself, he is saying the things he does because he is funded by the fossil fuel industry. That is important information to know and explains why people such as Richard Lindzen and the Oregon Petition Project work so hard to hide that information.
Notice, did not engage in character attacks on Mr. Epstein. I only questioned his motives. I did not discuss his sexual orientation, if he kicks his dog, how he votes or if he undertips the waiter. Those would be character attacks and those kinds of things would be irrelevant. Keep your false arguments in line, please.
I would love to debate him in a public forum.
Fossil fuels are not so cheap anymore (Nuclear is not even close to being cheap, and I’m a nuclear energy supporter.) Also, when you start including the cost of damage done by fossil fuel they become one of the least affordable sources of energy of all.
But, wait! We just identified why the fossil fuel industry is supporting Mr. Epstein. Mr. Epstein wants us to believe fossil fuel pollution is GOOD for us. So, when it spoils our water, poisons our air, makes our children sick and kills us, it is all a GOOD thing for us and we shouldn’t be saying bad things about those benevolent fossil fuel people. After all, Mr. Epstein tells us they have made our lives so much better. And, don’t even THINK about holding them accountable for their actions because changing the environment is a GOOD thing.
Speaking of using false arguments, that whole line is nothing more than a crock of horse manure.
This paragraph has so many false statements (short and poisonous) that I don't know where to begin. Let's just address your claim that "thanks to fossil fuels climate related deaths from all the kinds you mentioned are at a record low." Then, tell me how you explain these facts:
- Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.
- Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.
- The direct damage costs to health (i.e. excluding costs in health-determining sectors such as agriculture and water and sanitation), is estimated to be between US$ 2-4 billion/year by 2030.
- Areas with weak health infrastructure – mostly in developing countries – will be the least able to cope without assistance to prepare and respond.
- Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases through better transport, food and energy-use choices can result in improved health, particularly through reduced air pollution.
Source: World Health Organization
Paragraph 7:Do you really expect someone to believe that pollution is at an all time low?
More of the same. Yes, I am justified in questioning his motives, especially when they are so transparent and his claims are so false.
Then, you make a statement that is actually sick:
It is wind and solar that are dangerous to our environment because they can’t provide cheap, reliable and plentiful energy and of course they pollute too. If we were to switch to those our environment would be destroyed and our protection from climate danger would be almost non existant. Hundreds of millions would die if we followed your ideas. People who love what fossil fuels do for our lives pay Alex for his ideas. The reason is because we don’t want our environment destroyed and climate danger to drastically increase because of your bad ideas. Can you fault us for loving our environment and wanting to live and thrive on Earth?
So, the scientific evidence is conclusive – fossil fuels are destroying the environment and the climate. And, you want to justify them by saying “Can you fault us for loving our environment…..?” I can – and do – fault you, but it’s for lying.
Just another one of your false arguments. You make the claim that anyone not wanting to use fossil fuels wants to “sacrifice human” and that you and others (presumably, those that want to use even more fossil fuels) “want to maximize our impact on our environment and do so in an extremely positive way so humanity can thrive.” These are both incredibly false arguments and you will certainly get people to fall for them because they sound so nice. “Trust us, we’re the good guys and those environmentalists over there are the bad guys. They want to turn off your lights! They want all of you to die so the air and water are clean. How unreasonable of them! Bad environmentalists! Bad! Bad!”
Some of the several false arguments you make with your statement is that people that oppose the use of fossil fuels want to ‘sacrifice humans’ when it is actually the opposite. By keeping the air and water clean, it will improve the lives of humans, not sacrifice them. And, of course, the biggest false argument you make is that the only way we can have energy is by burning fossil fuels. This is not only every obviously false, but we are seeing an increasing number of people turn to alternatives. Solar power alone will likely rewrite the entire energy industry. That is another example of why the fossil fuel industry is paying Mr. Epstein – they don’t want people to realize they can break free of fossil fuels and IMPROVE their standard of living at the same time.
And, when you speak of ‘maximize our impact on our environment’ you automatically assume that any change is good. That is the central false argument Mr. Epstein makes the entire time – the natural state of the environment is actually bad for us, so changing it (no matter how or why) has to be good. Go back to your philosophy and logic classes. This is a completely false argument with nothing to support it.
Really, do you think I would hesitate to debate Mr. Epstein on these issues in a public forum?
By the way, no one is paying me for my ideas. I would love to get financial support from some source, but I don’t.