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It's a long clip (over 20 minutes), but well worth a listen.

I was particularly impressed by Dyson's reasons for his optimism, starting at 21:47.

Compare that attitude with that of the easily offended and easily panicked "safe space" snowflakes we have today.  Edit: oops, forgot the link.

2 Answers


Dear Other Tink,

I did not know how Freeman Dyson thought of climate change until watching the video, ALL of it...

...and I think he is wrong overall - even though his individual points are correct. Most of all I think he is influenced by growing up in the 1930's (born Dec. 1923), when the situation was incontrovertibly grim; Hitler, the Great Depression, the new threat of germ warfare (he mentions anthrax)...me born 1944, I still compare those ominous times also, growing up in the direct experience of my parents.

However, it's just easier now to minimize the hazards because of scientific limitations, but that does not diminish those hazards...we may well be in worse danger now...even while we demand more more more scientific accuracy to be really really really certain.

* * *

It sounds like Freeman Dyson is saying, "Our polluting is helping things get greener because we put CO2 in the air, so it's beneficial to go ahead and pollute more and more." 

Nope, I think it's time now for each of us to get our act together for the world, and for each other, with respect to climate change and everything else...including prayers and/or atheism affirmations/good wishes (whatever consistent with our personal philosophy).

                                                                    * * *

btw, Dyson sounds like a marvelous scientist and great human being...like John Forbes Nash, he made contributions to game theory, among other areas...also his own philosophy is Christian, having some set-to's with Richard Dawkins...I enjoyed learning about him.

TheOtherTink Virginia
@ Virginia,

Well, some pretty fine minds (admittedly in the minority) are skeptical.  Here's another.

My own view is that population control is a much more urgent problem. A hundred years from now, whether or not we have reduced carbon emissions by 50% (or whatever the goal is) will pale by comparison if the world population has risen to 20 billion.
Virginia Virginia

Hi O'Tink, 

I did watch the entire Crichton video, with interest...and again I am seeing a mindset that I think is unworkable -- being "If we can just focus on global warming and either discredit the science or dismiss the idea as 'catastrophist,' THEN we can just go ahead and pollute, overpopulate, plunder resources or otherwise foul our nest - and just not worry about it."

I myself have no doubt there is a very real risk that we can make the Earth uninhabitable for humankind. I don't think we can wait until every last denier is answered...just my opinion...


Marianne Virginia

Yes, T(h)ink, population control is, indeed, an urgent matter, as our Planet's resources are dwindling fast.

But this can only be done gradually, with adequately informed, educated, autonomous people, enabled to act responsibly and to take their own, mature decisions in accordance with a more sustainable society. And many abusive rules and taboos, irresponsible decisions, false beliefs or superstitions should be corrected or "deactivated", which involve a significant change of attitudes, as abstinence, religious and other extremism, or wars, mass killings and slavery will never work.

TheOtherTink Virginia

@ Virginia,

But I wouldn't style intelligent skeptics as deniers. Here's another one, Giaever, a  Nobel laureate who resigned his membership in the American Physical Society in protest over its endorsement of what he judges to be pseudoscience.


Virginia Virginia

Hi O'Tink,

I had already watched Ivar Giaever's video when I was poking around YouTube after you posted Freeman Dyson's talk...and I watched it again just now...

Here is (part of) what seems to me unconvincing; a kind of unspoken message Dyson and Giaver and others give...because learning about Bell's Theorem the other day, I ran across this (fallacious) analogy: All crows are black (barring the occasional mutation). Therefore, if it is a black bird, it MUST be a crow.

* * *

The unspoken climate change discredit message seems to me, "If there is no catastrophic global warming, that means there is no reason to worry about polluting the Earth, we can continue at will to foul our nest without consequences"...i.e., a form of if it is a black bird, that proves it is a crow. 

* * *

So, here is my own personal reasoning about catastrophic climate change, it goes kinda in reverse:

By my own processes of discernment, I have no doubt we are able to degrade the Earth so much that we humankind can no longer survive here. 

So my view admits catastrophic climate change a possibility - maybe even a probability - but our prevailing scientific method is quite primitive, and I am unsure it is even capable of discerning this kind of answer accurately (sensitive dependence on initial conditions).

However imo the issue global warming, in and of itself, does not ultimately even matter, there is still an urgency for us to work to protect our lifeline.

TheOtherTink Virginia

Hi Virginia,

I agree that we should do our best not to soil our planetary nest, but at the same time, that should include not making it worse.

Ethanol from corn is a case in point, and on a much shorter time scale.  I ran across this article and - surprise, surprise! - somebody was making tons of money on ethanol credits (what will happen with carbon credits?), and the ethanol program has been shown to be a net energy loss, or at best only marginally beneficial. And of course I'm sure our honest political leaders knew NOTHING about all this.  :ermm:


Virginia Virginia

O'Yes, O'Tink, I did not even go to your link for this one...having just spent five years in Iowa, corn country, where the ethanol fiasco is a state-wide joke...(do let me know if there is something new in the link, that would be good to see).

...and actually I might qualify my words above...if global warming is indeed a fiasco, it is NOT good to perpetrate that on us, asking us to trust bad science; the situation is dire enough in its own right without deception. 

Virginia Virginia

Other Tink...this morning I searched for "climate change" on YouTube...to see if there is some evidence (either way) that seems credible to me...and I found this one; styled 'The Top Ten Reasons Why Climate Change Is No Longer a Debate.'

Well, to me the videos we looked at, the Nobel laureates against climate change, to me were not convincing; for example, Freeman Dyson on how the threat was greater in the 1930's, just because the threat was easier to detect...a non sequitur. But this video below (pro-climate change) if anything is even worse science! I myself am guessing there IS human-caused degradation of climate...but if THIS is their evidence of clear thinking, then the question is definitely still up for debate.

I was wondering...is your opinion, like mine, more of a guess or have you seen science that truly convinces you?


I had to look more into details, as I did not hear about this eminent physician's and mathematician's views, though climatology, ecology, etc. are not his branch.

Actually, I cannot agree with his opinion regarding his "opponents", although his criticisms are justified, as also extremism and too radical solutions are neither a valuable issue. Overpopulation, wars, religions, disasters, crimes, overwasting, greed, perversity and the human nature itself are the worst obstacles on the difficult path toward sustainability. And nature needs time, as living organisms are no machines ...

And, in spite of all these multiple challenges, we still can hope that attitudes, mentalities and behaviours can change - as awareness is spreading and efforts are being made, since long, by a growing number of common and "less common" people ...

Virginia Marianne

Marianne, that is an interesting answer...if I understand you correctly, that is where I am placing my hopes too, that if we all just do the best we can...somehow the good hearts will prevail. 

I don't think we even have to agree; it is more for us just to have good hearts, in our own way...as I believe Freeman Dyson does...

Marianne Marianne

Yes, Virginia, you got the best answer.


TheOtherTink Marianne

@ Marianne,

Climatology is not his branch, but drawing conclusions from mathematical models (which is what climate predictions are about) is very much his branch.

Many climatologists are out of their depth when it comes to advanced mathematics, just as many medical researchers are. That's why, for example, so many conflicting medical opinions appear (coffee is good for you one month, bad the next...). These researchers plug their data into statistical regression formulas and draw conclusions without fully understanding the limitations of their use.

Virginia Marianne

O'Tink...your excellent comments and observations about science...is it part of your professional background? 

I have been intrigued by quantum field theory, chaos theory, etc. because of the correlation with observations from my own meditative practice, and so go into them as an amateur...through the back door, just enough to cause trouble and be dangerous! 

But YOU seem more professional about it all , somehow...to understand when and how to apply the mathematical models is extremely valuable, and too often not skillfully done...


Marianne Marianne

Yes, of course, T(h)ink and Virginia, you are right, and we are trying to deal with a huge, tricky puzzle, as our worldly "engines" are composed of a large number of elements.

As to the mathematicians, they are essential in all the sectors. But they need facts and bases from research, tests, experience and practice from other sectors for their calculations, as many different disciplines are involved, including behavioural patterns. And that is why interdisciplinary exchange and feedback are important. Theories, interpretations and opinions vary also, from one mathematician to the other. Further, certain limits are imposed by moral, spiritual, or abusive considerations.

And I fully agree with you that overpopulation, environmental depletion and pollution are urgent. But that implies a thorough change of attitudes, and the promotion of responsible actions and decisions, which start with education and appropriate re-education.

Marianne Marianne
Virginia Marianne

Seems daunting, discouraging Marianne...but I know we must just press forward with good hearts and hope.

Marianne Marianne

Yes, but there is still hope; many initiatives and projects go on since years; there would be lots of jobs open for smaller, specialised enterprises, recovery, repair, restoring, cleaning and recycling services and skilled or qualified workers, if sustainable, local business and production got more support and know-how.


Virginia Marianne

We humankind are capable of better than we are currently expressing, Marianne!

Marianne Marianne

I can't but agree with you, Virginia. :)

TheOtherTink Marianne

@ Marianne,

Yes, and every one of the problems you mention has overpopulation as its root cause. That's the REAL hockey stick.


If the world population today were, say, 2 billion, no one would be talking about CO2 levels in the atmosphere, and Al Gore would have to content himself with making millions with his petroleum investments. :D

In Europe and North America, population increases are almost entirely from immigration, the native populations not even maintaining replacement levels in most cases. The world's population explosion is currently being driven by countries that it is not Politically Correct to criticize. :angel:

Marianne Marianne

T(h)ink, yes, overpopulation is clearly one of the biggest concerns, as consumption, activities, waste and pollution and environmental depletion go beyond the world's natural resources and carrying capacities.

I have checked again various estimations, analyses, reports, articles, updates, conflictual views, the clashes between human rights, "religious" and "similar" interpretations, etc., and looked for more details and more recent info.

These are again general, but good, average results, as there are too many conflictual theories and extremes, depending on the sides (and there would be too much to translate) - lol:










Regarding human rights:




About "religious" interpretations and considerations:





Male "psychology" based on patriarcal education and "traditions" (a bit simplicist, though, but in English)


image    image

Virginia Marianne

O'Tink, I went to MALTHUSIAN CATASTROPHE, and well, there's a lot there...but I found this graph; notice it is the growth RATE that has been decreasing, not the overall world population itself, of course...and this drop in growth rate is not necessarily due to our good efforts, either; around 1960, something like 50 million Chinese perished in the Communism stuff...then the Great Depression is said to have an effect here, and possibly the swine flu pandemic of 1918, which accounted for between 50 and 100 million deaths...


Virginia Marianne

Oh Marianne, the cartoons are FUNNY

Marianne Marianne

Lol - thank you, Virginia, I know, it is sarcastic, but funny, and you are also reminding us of several additional causes; the graph is impressing.