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This is a question in reference to a recorded debate with an Objectivist. One of the last questions to Alex Epstein in his recent debate with McKibben, went something like this, a civilization is supposedly at risk of being obliterated by rising sea levels. I don't have the exact wording but Alex quickly states that the civilization should industrialize as a solution and that there are other civilizations that successfully live below sea level he cites the Netherlands. Abstractly this seems like a very interesting moral and political question. If the energy practices of one state/nation is threatening the existence of another nation, what then should either nation do?

asked Nov 12 '12 at 20:45

CarGuy's gravatar image


edited Nov 12 '12 at 22:10

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

The debate remarks referred to in the question start at approximately 1:32 (one hour, 32 minutes) into the video, in response to a question asked about 2 minutes earlier. The debate remarks pertain to energy use in general and don't go very far into the science of how or why general fossil fuel use could obliterate a victim nation due to rising sea levels. The answer, made clear throughout the debate, is the idea of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming (ACGW). That, however, is not a scientifically established fact at all, contrary to the stated assertions of McKibben. My understanding, and perhaps someone will post a further question about it if there is interest, is that if a general global warming trend is still occurring, it is still within the bounds of normal temperature variations of the earth in repeating cycles of roughly 110,000 years and is not recent and is not caused by industrial-technological civilization (with its fossil fuel use) and isn't even caused by rising carbon dioxide at all. On the contrary, rising CO2 levels lag behind temperature increases by about 800 years typically, as shown in the cycles of rising and falling global temperatures over a million years or more. Furthermore, ordinary water vapor is a far more significant "greenhouse gas" than CO2.

Still, there is a potential issue of a "collective" practice that causes provable harm to others' safety and well being. In effect, it would be a form of pollution. For more on the Objectivist view of pollution, refer to the topic of "Pollution" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.

Fundamentally, however, environmentalism is not a movement driven by science or cleanliness, but one driven by man-despising philosophy, in disregard of science insofar as the environmentalists can get away with it. Refer to the topic of "Ecology / Environmental Movement" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.

answered Nov 13 '12 at 01:14

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

edited Feb 19 '13 at 21:16

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Asked: Nov 12 '12 at 20:45

Seen: 864 times

Last updated: Feb 19 '13 at 21:16