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View Poll Results: Would you stay on the road or get off?

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  • Stay

    3 37.50%
  • Get off

    5 62.50%
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Thread: Even if you are a climate sceptic, can you afford to gamble?

  1. #1 Even if you are a climate sceptic, can you afford to gamble? 
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    I have decided to run a little poll. Here is the story:

    Suppose you stand in the middle of a very lonely road and a someone (let's call him "A") gives you $1000 per hour you keep standing there. The task runs for as long as 10 days. You do the maths and you are completely excited about the prospect of making $240,000 in just 10 days. The only condition is that you will be chained to the road and it takes 10 mins to get you off that road. You start with the certain knowledge that no car will be reaching you within the next 30 mins. So you are safe...for now. You also have a messenger you informs you about the traffic ahead. He tells you 12 mins in advance if a car is approaching. However, you somehow are sceptical about the integrity of your messenger. Popular rumours have it that he has a vested interest in scaring you, and chances are that he is lying to you and there won't be a single car in a year. Plus you already made plans with the $240,000 and would be utterly disappointed if you had to forego this decent amount of money.

    What would you do? Let's assume a conservative probability that he is telling the truth about the approaching car (3%). Do you stay on the road or get off?


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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    How do I get food? How are the messengers comments relayed if I'm asleep? Will I get a public indecency charge for pissing and dropping poo logs on the tarmac?


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  4. #3  
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    inow, I agree that the scenario I drew up is simplistic and doesn't take into account a few variables. However, as it is generally the case with models, you want to abstract from these. You may remember the analogy of "the map" which would completely defeat its own purpose if it took account of all little aspects of reality.

    I, of course, assume in my scenario that the factors you just mentioned are irrelevant. Think "bigger picture"...
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  5. #4  
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    The challenge I have is that you are asking us to provide a realistic response based upon an unrealistic scenario.

    It sounds idealistic. In an idealistic world, I'd do it since there's really nothing to lose. When I start realizing that realism plays a role is when I start considering avoiding the gamble altogether.
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  6. #5  
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    What can I say? I really could use the money, the messenger is not reliable and even if a car is coming so what. It can just go around me. If it does come to the worst case scenario, well then it won't be my problem anymore. Of course if I was younger and had a family depending on me staying alive, I might re-evaluate my position a little differently. I might flip a coin and go with tails never fails. <( 8) )>
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  7. #6  
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    The challenge I have is that you are asking us to provide a realistic response based upon an unrealistic scenario.
    Well, not really, all I'm asking you is to make a decision based on the information I gave you in the scenario. It is clear that I have left out all sorts of otherwise relevant factors. But I want to make a specific point and to make that point this is all the infomation we need to consider (in my opinion at least).

    I really could use the money, the messenger is not reliable and even if a car is coming so what. It can just go around me.
    Okay, point taken...that is important to add: The driving path of each car is predetermined. It can't go around you. It will (with certainty) kill you if you are still on the road. Neither can it slow down and stop in front of you (it doesn't have breaks).

    The scenario does not have to be perfectly realistic, guys...you have to keep in mind what this metaphorical example symbolises (i.e. what is the car representing, what is the man "A" representing, and what are YOU representing in this game). Then you will realise that these little things I haven't taken into account suddenly become irrelevant.
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  8. #7  
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    How is this an Environmental Issue?


    Explain or I'm moving it.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
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  9. #8  
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    Lynx, this is the context (see "Climate Change Debate"):

    But what is FAR more important and what really strikes me every day is this: You can (if you are a hard-core skeptic and have not much faith in the data) have your doubts about man-made climate change, but can you afford inaction? If you face uncertainty about the effect of any given underlying problem, with an (admittedly also uncertain) likelihood of catastrophic outcomes...can you really afford to gamble, lean back and say "Oh well, it might be just a scare after all..."?

    Suppose you stand in the middle of a very lonely road and somebody gives you $100 per hour you keep standing there for as long as 10 days. You do the maths and you are completely excited about the prospect of making $24.000 in just 10 days. The only condition is that you will be chained to the road and it takes 10 mins to get you off that road. You start with the certain knowledge that no car will be reaching you within the next 30 mins. So you are safe...for now. You also have a messenger you informs you about the traffic ahead. He tells you 12 mins in advance if a car is approaching. However, you somehow have your doubts about the integrity of your messenger. Popular rumors have it that he has a vested interest in scaring you and chances are that he is lying to you and there won't be a single car in a year. What do you do? Let's assume a conservative probablity that he is telling the truth about the approaching car (3%). Could you afford not to loosen the chain within the next 10 mins and get your self off the road? Can you really afford to gamble? I would like to start a poll (is that possible here?). I suspect that 99% of respondents would get off the road. WHY IS IT THEN...that we don't see 99% of politicians acting? Why is it that we don't have 99% of citizens supporting politicians in such actions?
    I was hoping to make that point through the poll, but then again perhaps not...
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  10. #9  
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    If that first sentence had been part of the original post it would have been much more clear.
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  11. #10  
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    Lynx: Yep, agreed. Will try to do this better next time. I guess I didn't want to be too suggestive in a sense that the answer is implied before it can be thought. But I think you are right, the analogy was probably not clear enough.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by erwinigel1000
    Lynx: Yep, agreed. Will try to do this better next time. I guess I didn't want to be too suggestive in a sense that the answer is implied before it can be thought. But I think you are right, the analogy was probably not clear enough.
    NP. I added "climate" to the title to clarify your intent.
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  13. #12  
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    I don't have any problem with the analogy. Don't know why others would. Analogies are most often put forward with the caveat of "all else being equal".

    I would bolt when the messenger tells me to. Anything else would be foolish.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  14. #13  
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    Oops. I misunderstood. I'm with Kalster, despite the fact that my vote suggests otherwise.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    The challenge I have is that you are asking us to provide a realistic response based upon an unrealistic scenario.

    It sounds idealistic. In an idealistic world, I'd do it since there's really nothing to lose. When I start realizing that realism plays a role is when I start considering avoiding the gamble altogether.
    Yeah. If we're going to be realistic, then imagine you need the money for a kidney transplant. Letting the environment crumble is an economic disaster in the end, because some humans will certainly survive the projected outcomes, but saving the environment could also be an economic disaster.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Yeah. If we're going to be realistic, then imagine you need the money for a kidney transplant. Letting the environment crumble is an economic disaster in the end, because some humans will certainly survive the projected outcomes, but saving the environment could also be an economic disaster.
    My example is obviously just a loose analogy to illustrate how the average person usually makes decisions in light of uncertainty, where the decision at hand involves a trade-off between a sacrificing a certain amount of profits in the short term and avoiding uncertain catastrophic consequences in the medium-to-long term. We could come up with all sorts of little side stories here, but the focus is on the AVERAGE PERSON. I intentionally chose a low subjective probability of 3% in my example to mimic the climate change sceptic. I, personally, given the overwhelming amount of evidence would assign a much higher probability of catastrophic outcomes under a "business as usual" scenario (no mitigation efforts), though that's somewhat besides the point.

    The point is that I think there are complicating factors at work in how we think about climate change. While the vast majority of us would be prepared to sacrifice attractive short-term profits in order to avoid even very unlikely (3%) catastrophic outcomes, we don't see the same sense of urgency in the way we deal with the climate challenge. One of the differences is the intertemporal factor, i.e. that our generation has little incentive to sacrifice profits for problems that are unlikely to affect them during their own lifespan. Another one is the global aspect of climate change which requires global coordination, which is also not accounted for in my example.

    The "crumbling of he environment" (I presume you mean by than quite bad environmental outcomes) is indeed also an economic desaster, but even more importantly, would endanger life on earth as we have (so far) been knowing it. And possibly for a very very long time. I don't quite understand (happy to hear opinions) how we can weigh this up with economic considerations (especially when it is likely that all it takes to avoid climate change is sacrificing a relatively small share of global GDP). I even can't understand this out of a climate change sceptic's point of view, who assigns a very small probability to the prospect of bad outcomes.
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  17. #16  
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    why my reply on this thread was scensored i'll never know......sssh, i do really.

    the answer was.... stay on the road. the highway is covered by snow anyway. just like the whole of the northern hemesphere!!!! bhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaha
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