2011-07-12 15:57:28The Ridley Riddle
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.187.28

I've been sitting on this three-part post for some months now, fiddling with it here and there. I have not quite finished tweaking it yet, there are some links to add and I'm not happy with the intro and I'll rework it soon. Still, its 95% done. It's all in one big post at the moment, but I'll split it into three later. there's a problem with a numbered list in Part 2 that resets itself

I'm not even sure that this is not an appropriate series for SkS, the first and third parts don't have much science at all. If you think so, please say; I won't be at all offended or even surprised. I may be able to publish it on someone else's blog or even my own.

Anyway, please blast away.

2011-07-12 23:18:34
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

I'm not sure if I like your application of the Red Queen hypothesis as an extension to climate.  The Red Queen hypothesis states that evolutionary preference to sexual reproduction is *driven* by co-evolving parasites.  If parasites evolve to constantly introduce a specie to novel environments, then consistent preference for sexual selection would occur as the specie must resort to the mix-and-match of alleles through bi-parental sex to stay ahead of the parasites.  If the parasites were to suddenly stop evolving with the specie, then the preference would actually sway back toward asexual reproduction, or single-parent reproduction, since the stresses of sexual reproduction on a specie very likely outweigh the benefits, and the most beneficial path is no longer gene-swapping but specie member production (which goes much faster through asexual reproduction).  Interestingly enough, Science's newest issue contains a paper detailing perhaps the first direct evidence of this effect.

So, to more correctly modify your analogy, the parasitic governments would be necessary in order for human progress to maintain, or at least climate change and resource stress would have to be consistent.  I don't think either is the point you're trying to make, or that he makes - his argument I would presume, without actually reading his book, is that human progress will continue whether or not the parasites continue, which doesn't fit into the Red Queen hypothesis.

2011-07-13 05:38:50
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.187.28

Alex, I wasn't suggesting extending the biological Red Queen hypothesis to climate but rather the Red Queen metaphor (having to run faster and  faster just to stay in the same place) to our resource use and our abuse of the atmosphere and oceans. I'll make the distinction more clear in the text. Thanks!

It's interesting that Ridley himself often refers to government as parasitic.

2011-07-13 06:04:57Andy S
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

I like your three part series and believe it should be posted on SkS.

You may also want to consider posting some of it as book review comments on Amazon and other like websites.

2011-07-13 06:15:51
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

Oh yes, I understood you were extending the metaphor, I just didn't think the extension was quite right.  Sorry for the ambiguity in what I said.

Actually as I think on it the way you have it phrased now is probably appropriate - having to run faster (adopt a bi-parental reproductive process) to keep up with pressures (co-evolving parasites).  Perhaps I was getting caught up on where you said "but just so long as parasitic governments don’t prevent us from conducting business-as-usual," as it's the parasites that induce the sexual reproduction (um, governments that induce the BAU).  However as it's applied above that excerpt, I'm nit-picking...

To nit pick some more, I don't recall cheating being a part of the Prisoner's Dilemma here:

"...but cheating provides bigger short-term benefits to the cheat..."

maybe I'll have another look at the game to remember that, the aspects of it that are clearest to me are self-interest and the Nash Equilibrium - do you mean cheating as in knowing your opponent's options and what your opponent will benefit from?  I don't think this has to be discussed or mentioned in the article, I'm just personally confused a bit.

 

To echo Badger, I think this series ought to be posted, it looks good and is pertinent to the general topic of climate change - we've already done a few posts on mitigative techniques as well, the theory of acting v. adapting.  Dana's Game Theory post (posts?) come to mind, this wouldn't be too far off in scope.

 

I also recall seeing another article in a past issue of Science about a book written by someone who argues we will need to modify our current understanding of game theories to account for different variables just like the present v. future players you brought up.  I think it would fit very nicely as perhaps a reference, let me see if I can find it for you.  It might be a few hours until I can get back to you, I'll be busy more between now and then.

2011-07-13 07:42:05
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.187.28

Alex, yeah, in the Prisoner's Dilemma games, I think they call it "defecting" rather than "cheating". I used "cheating" because I thought it was less technical but I'll have a think about phrasing it better or cutting it out altogether. Thanks.

2011-07-13 09:28:38
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

Here ya go, the book review I mentioned.  It's about "A Perfect Moral Storm The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change" by Stephen M. Gardiner.

I also think I had posted this as its own thread, let me find that as well.  It had the full text of the review.

Aha!

2011-07-13 10:04:45
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.187.28

Alex Thanks to you posting that review a while ago, I went out and bought the book and am now part way through. It has influenced my thinking considerably and I cited the author with a link to a pdf of one of his earlier papers on the subject  (Gardiner, 2006) in the last papragraph of Part 1.  At the moment, I'm just focussing on the Perfect Storm part of his analysis (an intergenerational, global and uncertain problem). He has a lot to say about game theory and climate and I have only scratched the surface of that part of his book. No doubt my treatment of the subject in my posting is superficial and amateurish. maybe once I understand it better I'll do a post on it. Actually, I think that Gardiner's book deserves a series of posts but it might be done better by somebody who has some actual academic credentials in philosphy and/or psychology.

2011-07-13 11:46:39
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

Glad I was able to inspire someone to buy a book :) I'll have to make a mental note of that, it's one of those small achievements I think everyone should be able to claim they did, a bucket list item as it were...

OT a bit (quite), I myself just bought a few books today, they being Dante's Inferno, The Greatest Show on Earth, and The New Cool (which I highly recommend as I have been involved with the organization it's about, FIRST Robotics).  I'm currently reading the second.

2011-07-13 22:45:20
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

Andy, good job on this.  In my mind Ridley is really famous for his ocean acidification denial.  He's like a luke-acidifier or something.  He doesn't get the idea that even though the ocean will have "winners and losers" that these are 2 changes in the ecological system.  He tries to do basic math with ocean biology.  1 winner + 1 loser = cancelling out problems.  In actuality it should 1 winner + 1 loser = 2 ecological changes with wider effects than just counting "losers".  It's a very basic mistake and he should be called out for it .  He also admits another mistake just recently in this email conversation with Mark Lynas

 

Just in case you wnated a more detailed post for his particular denial.  It might help the narrative a little.

 

In almosst anything he writes, he uses appeals to optimism that have no basis in physical fact.  Nature isn't optimistic, but it always gets the last word.

2011-07-14 04:54:24
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.187.28

Grypo, thanks for the Nature link, which I will add to my piece. Thanks also for pointing out the Lynas post, I had already this morning seen the argument between Ridley and him and I'll include a link to that too. It's interesting (in Part 2) that Ridley disses OA and at the same time uses results from ocean chemistry in the PETM in a wrong-bone-headed argument to claim that CO2 is not a big deal when it comes to warming.

My wife kindly provided me with a long list of typos, stylistc lapses and grammatical errors, which I'll correct shortly.

2011-07-16 10:50:15Finalized
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.187.28

Since, no objections were raised and I got a few votes of approval (thanks!) I have finalized this series now  and split it into three parts

The Ridley Riddle Part One: The Red Queen

The Ridley Riddle Part Two: The White Queen

The Ridley Riddle Part Three: Like a Northern Rock

There are a couple of houskeeping requests that I have of people who are competent in html

1) Put the italicised paragraphs at the beginning and end of the posts into green boxes (when I try this using Dan's instructions, the text turns red).

2) Delete the empty file The Ridley Riddle delete

As always, suggestions, both substantive and nit-picking, will be gratefully received.

2011-07-17 20:08:29
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.61.193

Just working my way through it Andy. Will get back to ya tomorrow.

2011-07-18 00:55:37
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

I've updated the suggestions page to get the green box.  As follows:

<p class="greenbox" style="text-align: justify;"><strong>NOTE:</strong> Enter desired text here (leave everything after this as shown)&nbsp;</p>

Replace this string:  

Enter desired text here (leave everything after this as shown)

with whatever you want.  If you don't want NOTE: then omit the

<strong>NOTE:</strong>

as well.

 

NOTE:

I've updated the first post above already, so I know this works.  After saving the changes, you'll have to open it up for editing and save it again for the green boxes to show on Preview.

2011-07-20 21:13:20
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.62.186

Andy, are you going to hyperlink the posts together?

Interesting read thanks. Sort of veers off from what we normally cover (thinking part 3 here) but it's clear the guy dabbles in denial not just of climate science.  

2011-07-21 02:52:50
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.179.249

Daniel, thanks. I succeeded in updating post 2 but it was  struggle for me and took me many tries. I realize that this is because of my ignorance of html coding, not because of your instructions.

 


 

Rob, thank you.

When (if) the posts come out I'll add links to the other two posts in the green boxes at the beginning and ends of the individual posts, so that if somebody stumbles acreoss one, they'll be able to find the others. A bit like Doug Mackie is doing for his OA series.

Yes, I realized that part 3 is a bit of stretch from usual SkS coverage but I feel that it is a needed conclusion to the series. There are a lot of free-market fundamentalists who are climate deniers but there are few among them who have actually done anything in business. Anyone can bankrupt a dot-com but it takes special skills to provoke a run on the bank you run. Ridley presided over such a monumental business catastrophe, which, I argue, was caused by the same fingers-in-the-ears, wishful thinking that he applies to climate and resources. His hypocrisy in regard to his silence about the people who worked for him having deliberately faked financial numbers, while he then writes op-eds in The Times rubbishing Pachauri and the IPCC, is breath-taking. I don't think that angle has been exposed before. 

2011-07-21 06:16:32
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
99.57.105.101

I thought I did part 3, but I'm on short sleep and am not sure anymore...

2011-07-21 14:48:10
Sarah
Sarah Green
sarah@inlandsea...
67.142.177.23

I like these; nice job.

Part 3 is an excellent link between political ideology and denialism. 

2011-07-22 14:18:58
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.238

Reviewed Part 1 - looks good.  I made a few minor edits like adding links and such, but you did a good job.  I'll have a look at the other two parts in the near future.

2011-07-29 04:52:40Part 2
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I reviewed and made a few edits to Part 2.  It looks pretty good.

2011-07-29 10:25:37
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.179.249

Thanks, Dana. I have fixed a few typos and punctuation errors and removed a few emotive words (denier, chutzpah).

All three posts should be ready to go, unless there are some further suggestions.