Intermarkets' Privacy Policy

Donate to Ace of Spades HQ!

Recent Entries
Absent Friends
Bandersnatch 2024
GnuBreed 2024
Captain Hate 2023
moon_over_vermont 2023
westminsterdogshow 2023
Ann Wilson(Empire1) 2022
Dave In Texas 2022
Jesse in D.C. 2022
OregonMuse 2022
redc1c4 2021
Tami 2021
Chavez the Hugo 2020
Ibguy 2020
Rickl 2019
Joffen 2014
AoSHQ Writers Group
A site for members of the Horde to post their stories seeking beta readers, editing help, brainstorming, and story ideas. Also to share links to potential publishing outlets, writing help sites, and videos posting tips to get published. Contact OrangeEnt for info:
maildrop62 at proton dot me
Cutting The Cord And Email Security
Moron Meet-Ups

« A Hard Day | Main | Sadr Sues for Peace »
March 30, 2008

More Doomsday Predictions

Rick Moran riffs off of this NY Times piece to speculate about the dangers of scientific progress. First, let's talk about the Times' article and then we'll get to Rick's comments.

It's really quite simple. A couple of guys think that CERN's nearly completed Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland might cause the destruction of the Earth when it is activated. They think our options are either being sucked into a black-hole or fused into one big lump of strange matter, Ice-nine style. Their solution is to sue the Department of Energy and Fermilab (both of which are alleged to contribute to the project) for failure to file an environmental impact statement. That should be enough, they think, to derail the collider. They included CERN as a defendant, but it's doubtful the federal courts have jurisdiction over a European physics lab.

Fear about supercolliders is nothing new. In fact, one of these guys tried this particular strategy before:

This is not the first time around for Mr. Wagner. He filed similar suits in 1999 and 2000 to prevent the Brookhaven National Laboratory from operating the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. That suit was dismissed in 2001. The collider, which smashes together gold ions in the hopes of creating what is called a “quark-gluon plasma,” has been operating without incident since 2000.

Which is not to say that there won't be an incident. It's just that I'm much more likely to believe, y'know, actual scientists who tell me that the risk is low or nonexistent than I am a lawyer and a self-described "researcher on time theory" (the example of global warming "consensus" notwithstanding).

My own reading on the subject leads me to conclude that these fellows have some things in common with the folks who fear Gray Goo and genemod organisms and artificial intelligence. The complaint is always "We Just Don't KNOW!" They want us to bury our heads in the sand since the mere act of scientific inquiry may result in the destruction of humanity. The problem is that they always end up labeling as "propaganda" scientific evidence that so-called existential risks are small or nonexistent (as the plaintiff told the Times reporter in this case). That indicates to me that they aren't going to be satisfied regardless of what science uncovers which therefore makes them particularly unqualified to judge the risks involved.

That brings me to Rick's post, where he gives far too much leeway to crack-pot naysayers for my taste:

The fact that scientists are not laughing at the idea of destroying the earth as a result of an experiment shows the wisdom of taxpayers like Wagner questioning everything – even though his expertise and knowledge may fall short of those he is criticizing. I would hope the same holds true for some bio-medical research that has the potential to loose upon the planet something that could destroy life as well as those working in the artificial intelligence field who some have theorized could end up being quite unfriendly to their creators.

He's giving Wagner (the plaintiff in this case) too much credit. Wagner isn't "questioning everything." Even as a philosophical exercise, "questioning everything" hasn't been all that successful a strategy; contemporary philosophy has been stuck in a rut ever since Descartes, trust me. What we really need to be doing is seeking answers, something that Wagner is doggedly opposed to. He's already made up his mind.

We shouldn't be glorifying neo-luddism, Rick.

Bonus: For those who are interested in this kind of thing, the complaint in this case is here (PDF). If you guessed that this fellow was representing himself, you guessed right and you know what they say about lawyers who represent themselves. This is the type of stuff they hand out to 1L research and writing classes to spot the problems.

On the other hand, if this thing is going to destroy the world, do you think we could get that done before the last week in July? I'd just as soon not take the bar exam if I don't have to.

digg this
posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:02 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
somedood: ""And indeed, as far as the guy being bullied, a nu ..."

LenNeal: "I use the Mobil synthetic because it's the leftove ..."

Unknown Drip Under Pressure: "[i]DNYUZ: Colombia Faces a New Problem: Too Much C ..."

Mr Aspirin Factory, red heifer owner: "Ouch baby. Very ouch. Posted by: blaster Read ..."

polynikes: "Posted by: Warai-otoko at July 14, 2024 09:53 PM ( ..."

[/i][/s][/b][/u]blaster: "[i]856 When seconds count, the cops are only right ..."

The Paolo: "I can’t take the screaming women. Posted by ..."

Weasel: "Posted by: Moron Robbie - FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT at Jul ..."

BurtTC: "DNYUZ: Colombia Faces a New Problem: Too Much Coca ..."

LenNeal: "Who TF actually for real even looks for a 55 gallo ..."

Mr Aspirin Factory, red heifer owner: "Damn. Gun Thread record? ..."

Warai-otoko : "No commentary, no hype, just play unvarnished demo ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64