Have environmentalists become a bigger threat to effective climate policy than deniers? Yes, I know it sounds outrageous, but hear me out, on Australian radio ABC (at 31 minutes), talking about my latest Quillette piece.
‘Disaster threatens the world’ was the headline on the front page of the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad on August 31, 1971. The opening sentence was grim: “If the world carries on as we are doing now, there will be a huge catastrophe within a few decades.” The article was a worldwide scoop, based on a draft version of a report… Lees verder »Growth is not the problem, but the solution
In the recent Netflix smash hit Don’t Look Up, scientists try to warn the world about a comet hurtling towards Earth that is going to wipe out human civilization and possibly life itself. Except, no-one wants to hear the bad news: the US president is too busy with the midterm elections and wants to silence the scientific Cassandras, a psychopathic tech… Lees verder »Why Environmentalists Pose a Bigger Obstacle to Effective Climate Policy than Denialists
(Book review of Daniel C. Dennett and Gregg D. Caruso: Just deserts. Debating free will, Cambridge: Polity, 2021, 223 pp, $15.99 PB. A slightly shortened version was published in Metascience) How can we ever hope to resolve philosophical questions with which some of our smartest thinkers have wrestled for centuries, with no agreed resolution in sight? Perhaps we should delegate… Lees verder »Do free will skeptics swallow their own medicine?
The philosopher Allan Bloom once lamented: ‘There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.’ Perhaps Bloom overstated his case, but as a university teacher myself, I think he’s onto something. Do people who proclaim that ‘truth is relative’ or that ‘everyone has their… Lees verder »Why Relativism is the Worst Idea Ever
Trivia question: which country was the first to pass a public smoking ban? Answer: Nazi Germany. Indeed, German scientists were among the first to determine a causal relationship between smoking and cancer. Adolf Hitler himself intensely disliked smoking and personally donated money to the Wissenschaftliches Institut zur Erforschung der Tabakgefahren (Scientific Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research). The term Passivrauchen (passive smoking) itself was coined… Lees verder »Why the Genetic Fallacy is Not a Fallacy
At long last, here’s the video of our climate debate at UGent, fully subtitled! Watch our distinguished panel of experts debate the best strategies to tackle climate change: Mark Lynas, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Opha Pauline Dube and Ted Nordhaus. Your host and moderator is Desiree Hoving. Even though there is no longer any scientific debate about the reality of man-made… Lees verder »Full video of our debate: ‘Climate Change Is Real. Now What Should We Do About It?’
(Here’s the original English version of our op-ed published in the Flemish newspaper De Morgen, written together with science journalist Mark Lynas, author of Our Final Warning) Because of the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the world economy, global emissions dropped by 8% in 2020. A silver lining? Not quite. If we want to reach the goal of the Paris… Lees verder »Building new gas plants in times of climate emergency? That makes no sense.
The science is settled: our climate is rapidly warming and humans are (largely) responsible. Fossil fuels have brought unprecedented levels of wealth and prosperity, but they are also pushing our climate out of balance. If we don’t bring down our greenhouse gas emissions, we risk reaching dangerous levels of warming within a few decades. Even though there is no longer… Lees verder »Climate Change Is Real. Now What Should We Do About It? (Debate at Ghent University)
Any packaged medication will come with a leaflet that warns of possible side effects. Manufacturers have to err on the side of caution, so they report pretty much every symptom that has been observed during clinical trials, even if most were probably unrelated to the medication. The only pills without side effects are those that don’t produce any effects at… Lees verder »Why Easing Restrictions Will Lead to More, not Less, Collateral Damage