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November 26, 2005



the enormity of our world

1. The quality of passing all moral bounds; excessive wickedness or outrageousness.
2. A monstrous offense or evil; an outrage.

Sorry to nitpick, but unless you are making a point about man's inhumanity to man, I think you mean "immensity". (On the other hand, maybe Kyoto itself is the enormity....)



That's an interesting nit you've picked. I've been using that word wrongly for years. Though Princeton's Wordnet lists "vastness of size or extent" as a possible usage it also says "in careful usage [of which I am obviously not guilty] the noun enormity is not used to express the idea of great size."

Thanks for the pointer, and I think you may be right about Kyoto...



How many arguments in favor have you heard, exactly? The question of whether or not biodiesel is a good substitute for conventional fuels has little to do with the razing of rainforests. Brazil has been cutting down rainforests to grow soybeans for decades, long before biodiesel was tied in.

Of course there's a balancing act in all of these issues, of which is the lesser of two evils, but the current administration is unwilling to talk about it. If suddenly all the oil fields in the world dried up except for one beautiful protected wildlife refuge in Alaska, I'm sure Bush would be perfectly willing to weigh the pros and cons of drilling there.

Regarding the world, and "our ignorance of the ways its incredibly complex systems work", I'd agree with you to some extent, but that's quite a blanket statement. Do you feel this applies to the subject of, say, genetically modified foods, or do we have that science nailed down just fine?

And are you yourself arguing that the rainforests are so valuable they must be protected at the expense of exploring alternative fuel sources, or are you just throwing this factoid in environmentalists' faces?



What I'm arguing is that people who think they know how to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels through social engineering, or end global warming (or even know whether global warming exists), or--to use your example--predict the consequences of genetic modification of food are deluding themselves.

They, and we, would be much safer if they stuck to things they really know rather than messing with things they merely claim to know in order to advance an agenda.


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