« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

263: Let's Get Alex Epstein on Bill Maher

2022-08-09 | 🔗
Earth nearing its eight billionth resident has Bill Maher very concerned. More people means more CO2 and that means catastrophe.  Unconcerned is Alex Epstein, author of the book Fossil Future: Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas—Not Less. Alex thinks we should carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages while deciding what to do with fossil fuels. He believes the widespread idea that rising CO2 will make the Earth unlivable is literally impossible and he would like to tell Bill why.  Instead, he tells us.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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This is the way I did episode number two hundred sixty three recalling this. Let's get Alex Epstein on bill mar because it's a good girl jack. He would like that very much and I think he deserves to be. He wants to refute something that bill said on his programme last friday ya and to be clear, when I say: let's get him on bill mark I mean on bill mark. Tv show. I don't I don't want to make. This weird were very good clarification, That shows that bill mar, as some of you might know, is a guy. I know I've been on a show. I was on their use, ago, and we had a very simple conversation. We don't see eye to eye on a lot here of late. I have shared a lot of his rance, because he's come out very strongly in favour of free speech. Issues
and some other things- and I happened to agree with- and I've I've always believe credit where it is due is- is fair, But his most recent ran on the population explosion. He calls it Explosion. I'm not sure it is, but we're about to celebrate more or in or acknowledge the eight billionth person on the planet but believes that is an occasion for real despair, and he sees it as a horrifying harbinger of the few sure elon musk, on the other hand, believes the biggest problem facing the next twenty years. Is a population decline or a collapse as he calls it? So one of these guys is wrong in bills. Monologue. He talks a lot about his concern
or the planet. He talks a lot about the fact that our finite resources are finite and our willingness and desire to keep populating the planet is just a recipe for disaster, and so I know a guy named Alex Epstein, who holds a different view, he's written a few books. His latest one is getting. A lot of attention is called fossil future and chuck, I think the beginning of the book is probably the best way to introduce this guy. So since you're, a professional narrator and one- Why don't you lay that honest, real quick? So the listener knows where we're headed with this thing. What this is after one and its the very first sentence of his book. Well, actually, its very first three sentences technically save the world with fossil fuels, question mark in this. look, I'm going to try to persuade you of something that may seem crazy to you, something that definitely used to sing
crazy to me, I'm going to try it. persuade you that if you want to make the world a better place, one of the best things you can do is fight for more fossil fuel use, more burning of oil, coal and natural gas. That's exactly what he talks about. That's the mission that is on. It is the opposite mission that bill mar seems to be on, and one of the first things Alex said to me when we spoke was you know, I would just love to go onto a show and talk to him about the ideas. The claims, the koran quote, facts its
longer, useful to put out strongman arguments and add hominem attacks and Alex has been called a lot of things over the years, because what he says upsets people, but very few of the people. He upsets sit down and engage in an actual conversation about the claims he makes. Those were the first three sentences of his book. The book itself is over four hundred pages. It's well researched its full of things that are making gonna go, ha ha hadn't thought about it that way and full disclosure. I also wanted to mine because he reached out to us a month or so ago. I put my foot in it with a facebook post that dumb dared to suggest that countries like india and China who really just getting into the whole fossil fuel revolution.
are going to be betting very, very, very heavily on coal and that another three billion people in the undeveloped parts of the world are still burning wood and dung and there is a lot to think about- and there is a lot to consider- and I know the topic is controversial, but it's because the stakes are high, that I wanted to talk to Alex and its because the future is uncertain. that I would love to get him Alex Epstein on bill mar. So let's do that. Shall we let's get Alex Epstein on the tv show real time Literally feel, but why not literally on bill mar? I dont want to make it weird, but I do want to make it fun and I think it I our joy, this conversation it's coming at you right after this. dude and didn't even dude? And do you know it's nice? inflation it doesn't discriminate right inflation doesn't care. What color you are.
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and I wish I had your patience to start. Thank you for the book god sent up from my office. A couple of weeks ago, along with the you're very kind thought there in the beginning, invitation to reach out, which basically is what this is. Why did you send me the book I send you the book. Well, so I'm not a big deal. We watchers have only seen a little bit of your stuff over the years, but I had seen that Prager you address, you did that I really liked- and I know I know them pretty well recorded a bunch of videos for them. and then I saw through several channels that really thoughtful post you had on fossil fuels on facebook and Fossil features for a lot of people, but one main audiences, just influential people who are really willing to think about. The issue knew you'd already thought it through to a degree that was very unusual so either. This person might like the degree to which I have the hunted through. Are you referring to the pole,
that caused me to endorsement deals. A tv show a publishing contract and roughly two hundred and ninety thousand friends is that one from january from june uses in june, any of that true the extent of it No, I'm exaggerating, but of course it's true. You know it's the reason I to have you on is because of all of the people who are taking what I'll call contrary position, not because it sidney requisition but because you are in the minority you seemed be out of dams to give, as they say, you're sort of went all in. I like how you clean that up thanks, I have grown weary of you bleeping me, I'm assuming you're, ok with words like damn shucks, darn it and gosh, I'm pretty good with that yeah. But you know what I'm talking about Alex was walking through. I think it was manhattan.
two years ago, with a sign that says I love fossil fuels and he was doing this at the occasion of some sort of rally wherein those in attendance were diametrically opposed. And I thought that this lad doesn't seem to care about breaking eggs and at least at that point in the In the conversation Alex, it seems, like you, were, place, where you knew that you had to upset some people to get their attention, and I'm wondering now, I think, maybe persuasion is a great place to start this whole game is a game of persuasion, somebody's wrong. Why at the sides is really really really wrong with regard to the end of the world, as we know it, and the impact of c o two on the planet and population, explosions and so forth, and so how are you feeling today in terms of what is persuasive and what is not visibly the topic in hand. I generally feel really good
about persuasion these days and then couple reasons one is that if you look at the last ten years so moral case for fossil fuels. My first major but came out about eight years ago, since then, there have been multiple best selling books that wild different and many specifics, all under the banner of what I call energy humanism, which means they look at energy she's from a humanistic perspective, and they look at what I call the full context, namely the boy benefits and side effects of fossil fuels, and what that's really done is you ve, had a Two people, including me who are saying yes, we definitely believe we impact the climate, but we need to look at that proportionally nagging, as well as any positive impacts as possible. We can have positive impacts and we need to look at the huge benefits it's that come along with that and that's an approach, that's proven, I think, is very clear. Think it's persuasive, I obviously think it's
true and the other side hasn't really had an answer for this. If you look at the responses to me to be your long borg to michael shell bergen, Steve coonan, It's overwhelmingly been just name calling like climate change. and I are trying to put us into that false alternative of you believe in climate change and energy. Fossil fuels or you don't believe in, and philosophies are okay to either that or just straw manning our arguments in ways that are fairly obvious to anyone who reads are works if you like. We have this perspective, including method of persuasion, that's proving active and then right now we are very much vindicated by events, because we ve had this movement that says to court save the planet. We need to rapidly restrict the supply of so fuels and we're seeing right now, when I talk about throughout false a future, which is that is a disaster for the very live ability of the world that we live in and we're seeing that right now with fear
starvation with Europe not being able to heed itself etc. So it's those two factors, a persuasive approach and then the right moment in history, I think, are very positive factors. Ok, so Suasion will be the theme I think that informs more or less every component of this conversation, and I, like the really actually start with bill mark. That says a lot when I can play those too I think both of them probably are singing out of the same hymn book. With regard to the idea that we are living on a planet with finite resources and that the more humans we put on the planet, the more imperilled those resources become, the more scarce they become, it is most reach. rant mar talks for about ten minutes, have you seen it by the way? Oh yeah? I
we set about it. I asked him to come on the shoulder educated about resource creation, but I haven't yet heard from the booker ya know you're not going to, which is why you're here so I'll play the part of bill more health. In the opening comments and on my facebook page, I've encourage people to watch what mar says, not because I think he is right, but because tens of thousands of people find him persuasive- and I know this because I can peruse the comments and then I can extrapolate from that- that many hundreds of thousands of people find him equally persuasive, so if he would sum up what bill mar had to say and framed The argument is simply, as you can in terms of humanity and the resources we have at our disposal. Oh and the other thing to nothin ramble, but.
ilan is affirmatively, saying the greatest crisis we face in twenty years. Is a population collapse bill mars, admittedly saying the exact opposite: somebody's, not just wrong. They're wrong with a capital are the capital are See what I'd said you're you I'm gonna, talk about that now or do you want me to? I? Don't care man the boys do yeah. Let us just out of my started it. We actually started with the interview with started with my observation that the alpha and the omega right there is no beginning. There is no end, so yes gotcha I welcome the two up perpetually bill more made an argument in response, to the claims by eu law, mosque and others, but most prominently, elon musk, that population decline and, in fact collapse is the biggest problem.
humanity faces, and- and I will go too much into that argument, but the basic thing is: you have declining birth rates in the freest wealthiest parts the world for the most part, those parts of the world I have any huge, among other things, entitlement states, that have massive massive commitments that we know are very very indebted to, and we are basically producing fewer people who can be very productive to support all of those things. In addition to just being able to support, the broader world. There are many ways in which the wealthy world supports the poor world that are not appreciated. That was what we tucker, elon musk said and what I would agree with and what own amplify, but they mars head. are you insane? How could you possibly be concerned with the population decline of humans, since that is exactly what the planet needs and he
talks about a number of different crises, and I would just highlight that I do not a tribute these crises uniformly at all to human impact. In fact, many of them are- due to lack of energy in general and fossil fuels. In particular, I mean in fact I think he talks about blackouts and then he'll. about different. You know various kinds of disasters and idea is that fossil fuels climate and is responsible for all of them and that the more people you have the more fossil fuel climate change you have and more broadly, the more you impact our planet adversely and actually peggy focused on was taking away too many resources from the planet's who talks about scarcity of food scarcity. Of of it not enough sand, this kind of thing and the boy it's a thing that's going on is what I call on fossil future: the parasite polluter view of human beings and the delicate nurture view of earth. So the delicate nurture means earth exam.
Send a delicate, nurturing balance that is stable, sufficient, meaning enough resources, if we're out too greedy and it safe, and then what human in do with our impact is we're parasites, we tend to take resources from earth and then we pay luke, so we make the earth dirty or we destabilize it in different ways such as the climate, and so this basic view, which is one of the originators or popular, as is thomas malthus, whom more exe illicitly, endorsed as being right, which I found to be quite bold since malthus is widely regarded as discredit it. But He is clearly holding this view in a very pure form and so his view as anything that goes wrong in the world is because there are too many of us having too much impact and the observation I would make to contradict this is in general. If you look at the available resources to human beings, those increase per person as population increases and the threats to human beings decrease as the population.
increases so with resources. You can take anything, but if you just look at income broadly, which has a measure of resources that we have at our disposal that has gone up as the population has gone from less than one billion to eight billion now and the threats from nature, including climate. This is not why I recognize, but it's demonstrably true. Climate is a much lower threat to human life than it used to be. You know. Contaminated water is less of a threat. Air pollution is even less of a threat, cause we're burning, less wood and animal dung. Other species are less of a threat In fact the starting point has to be: we live in a world that is unprecedented. Forms of how resource rich it is and how a threat poor it is and That needs to be the starting point, and I think that really calls into question mars basic worldview, and I think part of he's not really aware of that, he's not really aware that the trend is more, people means more resources and fewer threats and because
not aware of that sort of justifies his narrative that everything The bad is because of humans cause he's ignoring all the good and then in the future. It's just going to get terrible. So that's kind of his view and my basic view. human beings are not parasite. Polluters of a delicate nurturing planet were actually producer, improvers on a wild potential plan. You take it even further and say that this is not a benign gaia, mother earth kind of rock that we're on this fortunate as likely, as the odds are that we would wind up here, we're living. Nevertheless, in an arbitrary and capricious world mother nature, not sweet climates killed a lot of people over time- and you argue in part,
fossil fuels and our ability to harness their power, which is both relatively cheap and abundant, has in fact saved many. Many millions of lives, countless lives, in fact, so again comes back to persuasion. For me, if bill were here, he would be quoting the national geographic and nature and he would have all of his right just peace after peace have for peace after peace and yet fundamentally he's not talking about to your context point the fact that fossil fuels have saved millions and remain our best hope for some kind of civilized future. Yet the persuasion thing is interesting with more. I do hope to get a chance to talk to him this time publicly. I think be interesting, interesting, as are both kind of quick, I'm sumner professional comedian, but I know a lot more about it. Has these issues- and I think, I'm a better
I think- or maybe that's not helping me get on his show to say that, but you know he's a smart guy and it would be interesting with him to talk about some of the specific issues cause. I found it very curious that he was talking about electricity problems as caused by fossil fuels and talking about a food shortages as caused by of your because this is too pretty straightforward examples where fossil fuels have created amazing benefits here and that the problem firms are due to suppression of fossil fuels with electricity. Now we have a global track record of me able to produce reliable electricity in any imaginable climate, so we produce it in polar climates. We produce it in singapore and so the idea that heat waves somehow preventing us from producing reliable atrocity versus the obvious thing that we're shutting on reliable fossil fuel plants. I just think I can
third a bill on that point and then also the food thing I mean we ve had just unprecedented growth in agriculture after decades and decades of predictions of starvation, and you know to huge drivers are pretty obviously natural ask derived fertilizer and then diesel fuel machines that allow one person to do the work of a thousand and am just curious what bill thinks more c o two in the atmosphere which is plant food by the way and a slightly warmer planet, particularly in cold regions, where it's expected to warm the most like. How does he think we're going to be unable to produce food, and how does he think food shortages are caused by that versus by government restrictions on what I call the food of food fossil fuels? I feel like if we could break up the examples versus just putting them all under climate change and humans. I think you'd get through to him more on page three. Twenty one chuck
sent me this earlier and I I love it. Stop the page. You write my number one: take away from surveying arrange of climate experts. Is this Given what we know about the history of temperature and c o two on earth, the whites Read idea that rising c o two will make the earth unlivable is literally impossible. So that's the literally I mean chuck's response was do tell and it's a good one, because it goes right to the heart of how reasonably intelligent people are capable of talking past each other, if they don't agree on some underlying fundamental truth, I would guess that elon musk is more inclined to believe this than he is, if you're going to say that if you're going to say that it's that be
fundamental underlying doctrine of climate change is fundamentally impossible. Then you ve got a lot of persuading to do as well to them and ass. We look you ve got. This. Is your third book right? Second major buck third book. Second major book safe written over a thousand pages on us and its full of graphs and its full of you, ve got your fat and you ve got your sources and they ve got there's how in the world you're not gonna, resolve and on an episode of real time. But I guess you just keep pushing the rock up. The hill. Well, as I mentioned earlier, that. I think this energy humanist approach has proven persuasive and you know If I'm on an episode of real timers on the bbc last night, which are not exactly real time by nice, clean up friendliest audience, you know what point I always make is just
we have to agree that we're going to carefully weigh the benefits and the side effects of fossil fuels and the interesting thing about that framing, as everyone agrees, it's right. Nobody follows it in practice, but if you get people to agree on it, there are much more likely to follow it. So the way that comes up with this issue of live ability as if we look at fossil fuels like a prescription drugs. So we look at what are the benefits? What are the side effects and then climate impacts are A major side effect then part of what you are doing is you're not only just including benefits, including our ability to make climate safer, but you're, looking at climate in April emotional way and a scientific way versus the religious way that I think it is viewed as today. So right now, it's very much viewed as if we impact climate, we're gonna go to Hell. and you know, guy are the nature, god is gonna, punish us and it has this An airy unlimited character were an impact it and everything is gonna. We're really gonna have an earthly hell and the more you get me
I know it we're going away this we're going to actually look heresy levels rising three feet in century as the extreme you and protection say or twenty feet in a few decades is AL gore implies in his movie, that's a huge difference or does the temperature increase, as you increase you too Is that something that accelerates which no credible scientists says or that dslr it Cause is diminishing effect, which every credible scientists says, and so is it true that the planet has had ten less times more co2 in the atmosphere in its history, that's important in the world did not become on that would be unlivable to us even back then like once you get people to weigh these things. They can start looking at climate in a clinical full context way, and it's very hard to argue with and mark would have no argument against that he's only he thinks of himself as an atheist, and I guess he is but he's really dogmatist when it comes to this issue, because he really does
believe in a nature, god that is punished. As for our sins verses, just a complex global system that we impact positive, a negative ways, and we have to look at carefully what those impacts are do do do do do do do do do do. Do we've talked a lot spock cast about energy from fossil fuels. to all the alternatives- and we do so because people are desperate to understand the truth about the impact that we're having on the planet while opinions vary with regard to the future of fossil fuels but nobody disagrees on the many benefits of propane even e has certified propane as clean energy, which means propane is now being used for a whole lot more than grilling on the weekends. Propane, is everywhere, precisely what you want to have on hand when the sun isn't shining and the wind is blowing after
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r, o w E, where we all love us back to the pharmacological comparison. I like that alot vaccines work to right. I mean, if you look at, if you only look at the negative side effects of a vaccine, that's all you see. Well, then, the odds of you and ocular eating your kid are skinny. But if you back up and look at more and more and more of it, is that the kind of context you're talking Does it pertains to co2? I mean vaccines are a lot of charge right now. People are having different reactions so in general yeah, it's a prescription.
of vaccine in antibiotic and you just take a less controversial vaccine like polio vaccine and if you what did that? The same way that people look at fossil fuels? You'd say no polio vaccine? Because this has side effects- and you say well, wait a minute: it s a benefit of curing polio, while fossil fuels of the benefit of curing poverty and people are not thinking about that. They're taking are incredibly abundant and safe world for granted and not recognising that the thing that makes it abundant and safe above all is that all these, you know we in the fossil fuel machines that take our naturally very weak, unproductive species and make us sort of pot superheroes, who just have this unbelievable ability to produce value and that What makes the world this abundant and safe place, but as soon as that energy becomes too expensive than we do become our weak selves and we don't want to be a weak species in a world of eight billion people, because it was hard enough when there are five hundred million of us eight bill. and people without modern machine power.
Civilization. That is an impossibility, not good. What do you say to the people who say better safe than sorry? In other words? Ok, you have all these this wide range of calamity that will happen if we continue to put seo too in the air, and so we can agree as to how how bad it's going to be. But there are a lot of people who say we better cut it down to zero in order to just in case. Would he say to them say this This another example of the failure to consider the benefits and often analogy rise to an insurance policy. So we will say well an insurance policy, but what about an insurance policy that cost you a hundred million dollars and you're nor a person What about an insurance policy that says you have to kill yourself at fifty cause? That's basically what this is it saying we need to make fossil fuel so expensive, that people will use them, and you know this is a harder point to make even a year ago, but now
we're talking about we're here and reports of a hundred plus million people threatened with starvation or hand. Reports from germany of people forced to take hold showers real it in spain saying you can't make your temperature below eighty degrees in the summer like that becoming illegal, because there is insufficient energy and people are just starting to see. While the liability of the world really depends on the price of energy much more than it does, as in terms of fluctuations of climate, so you think you're an insurance. You think about what's the cost of the policy and what's the benefit of the policy in that, and then, though, thing is, if your weighing seo to you, don't see it Oh there's just a range of horrendous hellish outcomes and I'm not sure which one you see it as okay. We've increase this from point zero. Three percent of the atmosphere to point o four percent: we've had one degree of warming and the celsius two degrees fahrenheit. In the last hundred seventy years. The world is far better in.
who the rate of climate related disaster death is down. Ninety eight percent in large part, because we have all these fossil fuels, ways of protecting ourselves like heating, air conditioning drought leave through irrigation and drought or leave conflict like the world, has gotten to be amazingly better with the benefits and side effects of fossil fuel. So far, so why would you expect point o four percent two point: five percent again in a world that has had ten times more co2 in the past. Why would you consider that the pop but, as I say, and false or future, I dont think its established that even seo two on its own is negative. I dont think its known, but their various ever get benefits to c o two. In addition to risks, because there's real benefits to global green, which is a very, very significant factor, and then warming is expected to occur mostly in the cold despite the world, and you have a world where many times more people die of cold than if he so get. If you look at it in an absurd
active scientific, humanist, dick way, verses. This religious we're sinning way you dont think of it as one of our biggest concerns and then also, if you're interested in addressing us. It might be said this in your face proposed. You really look. something like nuclear and the fact that the anti fossil fuel movement is also largely the anti nuclear movement. I think reveals It's not really concerned with the threat of c to emissions human life, but rather as a broader hostility towards energy and humans will, of course, I mean that's the argument. They go hand in hand if you fundamentally are celebrating the fact that more lives or good, then you're in one can but bill is saying look never mind now it's a zero sum game. We have been afforded a finite amount of water sand, etc. our precious metals? All of the things we need. These things are fundamentally limited. We can't make more, but we can make more people
So how is his argument flawed with regard to just putting on the brakes with regards fifth, you know, as he puts it, everything is finite, except for our desire to make more bait Right, it's an important argument to dress- and I just say anyone whose sympathetic to what I think first need to acknowledge. This argument has been made for two hundred years and come false for two hundred years again, the available resources to humans have continued to increase, despite predictions that they would decrease in. This has happened, per person, even though we have way more people than we. Then we used, I think, the basic dynamic that more doesn't understand and most people donors. Is what I call resource creation, a reason something that is available readily available for use and people tend to think of a resource as something that nature gives us that's finite and that we take. should I ask people at times. Like is oil? Mabel natural resource is gas.
I will natural resources, aluminum a valuable natural this national say yes, and so that's totally wrong because they are naturally resources, there naturally useless mean oil used to be thing, annoying that you found gas used to be something that killed you. Sometimes, when you export for oil aluminum, the most abundant metals on earth was useless until fairly recently in history. So what a resource we is is wrong. matter and energy transformed into useful form by the human mind, and so then, once you view it that way, you can see- The pool of potential resources is effectively unlimited because we have this planet only raw matter and energy, and then we also have other places in the solar system if we need them, but you don't example is water
If you look, I think Maher mentioned water in his monologue, yeah, okay and he had some really snide comment, which I just found incredible, because water is just I mean what is usable drinking water? I mean that's a function mostly today of how good we are at pumping it from far away places, how could we are a purifying at water? Clean drinking water is naturally for most people distant and its naturally dirty and sets fossil fuel machines, for the most part, high energy machines, in any case they pump it and they purify it. Most of the world is: is water and Joe rogan add this great line that I've used in chapter I mean I gave him credit, but I quoted him in chapter four he's just like we don't have a water problem. We have salt problem- and this is in a world where we already having massive progress in desalination by Israel. If the poor
If energy was lower, which I think long term, it could be way lower through nuclear in the coming decades or generations, you could desalinate everything. So if you think of all the basic things that we need, they can become more plentiful? The one place I'll say I would we have to take more into account. Is it's not true that every element on earth is totally unlimited, such that every person could use it given the current system. So like their certain metals and might be war. You know the rich people using them an x amount and there's not enough that metal on earth? I don't know if specific examples, but you could imagine that are things like you know: beachfront property like there's not enough of that for everyone on earth to have, but the you deal with that is as long as you have a free economy, the price The system will quickly tell you if you relying on one particular thing. That is not a scam, annabelle, as you would like it to be and then use other things is actually one of the
dangers, ironically of the green economy, because the green economy is based on all these projections that we can limit leslie scale, lithium, cobalt, all these materials with totally unprecedented speed, but there also just making assumptions about how much there is, how easy it'll be to get and that's the kind of thing that will get your resource crash, which were already seeing when you artificially force people to depend on something out really knowing its economic, scale billy. So ironically, bill is advocating that we do these totally on proven things on an unprecedented scale, and that's where actually run into the resources problem when you force it. But as long as you leave people free, they take advantage of the fundamentally limitless nature of resources and they pick the specific materials that and be scaled global, and certainly for food clothing, shelter transportation like we know, there's plenty of raw matter.
Energy to do all of those things. Part of what I tried to talk about in the post that got me into some trouble was just this: the futility of trying to separate energies the futility of trying to separate, really everything. You can't talk about modern agriculture without talking about fossil fuels and then you can, but it seems kind of crazy and the truth is you can't talk about alternatives without talking about. fossil there's just no way you could get it. I think you wrote an article must been ten years ago, congratulating elon musk on creating a terrific coal car which I thought was grey mega. It blocked on twitter by him? Oh yeah tell me about the article cause. I I've tried to make the same point on a number of tv shows that chuck- and I have worked on- you know
you plug in your electric car somewhere at turbine, is spinning in the odds, are pretty good its coal oil or natural gas, making that possible the number of people who simply haven't embraced. That is kind of staggering. the key to distinguish between a you know an electric car slash battery car with a thought. so free car. And those are often acquainted and with that article, eight is something like with it. Tesla model s. Elon musk has created a great fossil fuel car. idea there is that if you look at what source the energy used to produce that car and there's a whole production chain enough. mining, the elements to processing them to moving around the factors. If you look at what used to produce them and then what's used to power them, namely by charging the batteries, the car, that's overwhelmingly fossil fuels and it's very important to recognise,
that and it's very important to not treated as a fossil free process, because, if you do what happens, is people get the false idea that it is easy to power the world? without fossil fuel, same reason, by the way have called out. I got in big trouble tim cook as well for calling him out four hundred sent. Renewable lies. Apple actually got my posted forbes taken down for five days for calling out and they foursome revisions to be made. That's all interesting storage came directly from cook himself came from his deputy who had them take it down at these a very sensitive to this, but I am very sensitive to them deceiving the world because it again, if you think that apple or tesla, these advanced companies are fossil free, then you believe that the world can be fossil free and you will support these policies that are now harming billions of people. I am also interested the attack and the big corporate push in this direction. I think something most people understand
and I think most people also understand there is certain inherent bias in media, but when the those things, come together. That's a hell of a thing. I dont well how this story ends Alex, but I know that you got wrapped up in a ugly piece of business with the post and preemptively tried to get in front of article that I think they were calling you a racist on top of some other things right. But how did that unfold? and how did it play out saying I spent three plus years working as hard as I could to be right about this issue right, the most persuasive book possible and so on. The hope is that people who expect to disagree with it will read it. That's been a big old, like is really written for people expect to disagree that, above all, I got. My publicist saying we heard from the washington post who we had sent the book? about informally. Wasn't a comment on the book. Is it an bother reading the book, but there planning on publishing an article that quote certain people calling you
racist, and this is monday morning. I get it it's coming on Wednesday morning at six, a m pacific types. This I about you, but does not have one thing to hear that one of the most powerful media institutions and world. Interestingly, the one I grew up with cause, I'm from the dc area before I came to california, like that Gonna go after you with this story. I could go into detail about the accusations, but, namely these were fundamentally a false they involved people at organization that the post was in cahoots with trying to read through, thing I had ever written to dig up something offensive. They dug up things that I wrote in college that we're very individualist, but because the post and these guys are collectivist, interpreted them as racists if, for example, by the main thing was x recently said I thought western civilization was superior and should be spread, because it is we're pro individual and pro freedom- and I thought that individuals of
skin colors should have access to those ideas. I didn't think that, therefore, why people- and yet they call this racist and they got specific people to call me racist, this- was really bad in terms of what it would have done if on So I decided I rope and I thought well what's going to happen. If I write a response to this court journalist she's We out to get me in the first place, so that's not gonna work, she's, just going to say: oh Alex Epstein commented or here's one quote from him, that's totally useless, and then, if I don't comment, they say, oh Alex Epstein refused, or you know he didn't respond to a request. comments. I thought the only way to do this is to make a pre emptive public comment and share it with many people as I can so I said to them- hey I'm going to give you a comment I didn't tell them is going to be a public comment. Then I spent my monday just for eight hours. working on what people have said, and I think it's true on. Way is like one of the most effective presumptions. You never see it I mean our long video, I posted it as a video threat on twitter. Got seen by millions of people, and I said,
to ever an influential I know, including my friend, Michael shellin, whom I know you. You ve read some of his work He happened to be under rogan that day. So then it got discussed on Rogan show it got widespread the poem started getting shamed and their only response. They had no response at first, they responded to none of the hundreds of letters they got supporting, make dinner spun any those the only thing they set, as the accused me of suppressing in innocent journalist by make false accusations, even though I had an outline for them, calling me a racist. So they had this crazy response that nobody found plausible, except for like ten or twelve climate journal. who called my accusations baseless, even though I had primary sources and spent an hour and they just all fools of themselves and no, I found this plausible, except for this ridiculous incestuous community, and what they did a week later. They didn't I didn't tell me anything and then, a week later, they published something with ninety percent of the bad stuff gone income,
bearing all mentions of racism at somebody called it open peace for me that is not true it was still really bad. I'd. Undone, the worst stuff, by father- and I think I had set an example for other people- and you did it or to say it properly- you couldn't have done it without fossil fuels, because you did it online. You did is necessary technology provided by the very companies that are sideways on this whole issue. You basically I mean that's why I started with persuasion, because I do feel, like you know, we're all in a knife fight in a phone booth with this thing- and it's just so fast- and so ugly and people they're so sure,
Report is so certain about this. That's the thing you know I watched bills ran twice and would sticks with me. Isn't the specific claims that he makes and it's not the specific sources that he a tribute is the absolute certainty that informs everything from starting. miss. That's the thing that worries me most there's just no humility and I know he's a comedian and I I don't mean to criticise them for this. It's really just an observation. There is a certain amount of humility in your book. You know when you don't I was you say this is a thing we don't know, but to consistently come back and argue context and perspective strikes me as reasonable. Think it's processed by the other side, ironically as a whole bunch of inconvenient truth, because.
If somebody's going to engage with your claims, then we can have a very different conversation than if they simply call you a racist. You know good for you for fighting back, but if you had a crystal ball, is this going to get better or worse well, I tend to be optimistic, but I am admittedly, understandably focused on my own, persuade if this and seeing that grow I mean I have something I called the bike. Lock. Theory of persuasion doesn't really cloth as a threat. It's a good mental model for me in others, cylindrical bike locks the f before five in place and if we we're open, but one is closed. It doesn't really open- or maybe you could you know, yank it open and that's how I think of persuasion, I think of it as if you can unlock everything it really works. But if you miss certain things it almost doesnt work at all. This is actually one reason. I wrote a whole new book on an issue at our written, bustling brookline book on. I really thought I really know all the cylinders now, there's a
Idea of. Why should we question quote the experts, which really means what were told by institutions that the experts and so I feel like I've really good way of answering that and there's things like how do you get people to think of this on religious way and how do you get them to frame it? And how do you think of you know different climate things and I'm really zest with. How do I find the best way to explain everything, that's kind of analogous to comedians where they have material, and I can't just think with every issue: what's the matter, sway to explain- and I find that this approach It's even more than a linear increase its like a geometrical exponential increase in success. Where the better I get at it leaning it way more opens up areas to be on the, even if some hasn't read my book at this stage I ve I gone on many many shows where the host will be noticeably persuaded by the end of the show of the way of thinking, whereas I could not do that four years ago, even like my ability to People is just a totally different animal than I was even three years ago
in general. I am optimistic about. If you're, not persuading people, you think you're right, you might be able to become five or ten times more persuasive. I stuffing I'm at most a quarter. My potential, I'm optimistic about that, and then I see I see These things working, I see the other side responding in these pitiful ways and to bring it back to morrow. I talk about this in chapter. Eleven more is taking advice of what I call the moral monopoly against fossil fuels, which is it? idea that, if you are hostile, If you get a halo over had basically you're just a great person who saving the planet, and if you like fossil fuels, deserve horns of your head, you just the devil The reason is because people are looking at it in the full context, but once you bring in benefits along with side effects, then it becomes a controversial issue and that for Oh certainty can no longer just and experiences all the time when I debate people when I see audiences as soon, an audience of climate catastrophe sees you know, hundred p
or in the audience on my side their whole. This start slumping and their whole nature changes, because they ve been spy, world, by this moral monopoly position and to do science says this like bill mars and exemplary site, says the blackouts her because of climate change site says we have less food, because a fuss seeks mean no sense, but he just This monopoly of everything that's against fossil fuels is right. Attributing any negative thing to fossil fuels is ok but I and some others are breaking that monopoly and I think, five years from now, you're not Kabila, get away with that. And once there's a debate, it's like that's. My real goal is create a debate. I've huge confidence in my ability to win the debate, but it's now create the debate and that's why I'm so emphatic about sharing my book with smart influential people, like you cause the more of you guys who are aware of this approach him. You are already very much thinking this way, but the more people aware of this approach, the more quickly that monopoly breaks and then against a totally
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a slash rule that will hurt it's an uphill battle. For you, though, because one of the things I noticed in looking at videos on youtube that you're in even if you're aghast, if it's you know whatever the video is, there's a warning or rallies content that says I clipped it. It says: climate change refers to long term, shifts in temperatures and weather patterns mainly caused by human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels. So that appears every I saw a video that you were in. That was underneath of it and if you click it, it goes to forget the website, but it tells you more about climate change and how catastrophic it is. So it is really an uphill battle for you. Those are bad. I would love to see cerveza how effective those our psychologically as ever and I know, finds them very annoying the worst I've seen this so far as facebooks, because the facebook wanted
Have you go to their climate resources centre and a huge portion of it is refuting. The myth allege admit that fossil fuels can't be rapidly replaced with renewable energy, so under their allegedly its climate science that solar and wind can rapidly replace fossil fuel. So that's the kind of thing that I find particularly damaging. Because it's not just saying oh climate is in fact this weight, but it saying oh, there are no benefits to fossil fuels. Nothing to see here if you support the green new deal or build back better or whatever their calling? It there's no problem and worse globally there, obviously as a problem. So if I had a little more bandwidth, I would go specifically after facebook. For this Does it look? How dare you and your climate resources make these best controversial and at worst easily refutable claims that fossil fuels are rapidly replace, will just shows how the goal is just to have the end higher agenda imposed versus correcting.
civic scientific misrepresentations again with the certainty Yeah it's just it all goes together. There's no new wants to it. Everything like it has again. This any of your in my tribe, and you support my view or you don't, and so they have the whole tribes view come under the banner of climate science. The certainty A random guy. I meet in a bar who thinks what he thinks and we have a lively conversation about whatever it is I understand that that's the certainty of an individual and we're all entitled to it. You know we're either persuasive in it or were not, but when you become a giant company like Google and you have the ability to signal all sorts of things in your decisions and or facebook for that matter, we're really anybody in a position of influence. Then it just feels like some level of humility needs to accompany, even if you have the absolute courage of your convictions, even if you're certain
and so when I see an absence of humility, my antenna go up on both sides, because it's just too easy. It's It is too easy to be earnest and lean in two sound certain, but my question alex's in terms of persuasion right now in real time, So speak: do you see yourself more of the bunker? Do you see yourself more Somebody has to go out and say: look. I know you heard that ninety seven percent of scientists say this. Let me tell you why that's not true, or do you feel like you, ve got new information that can be processed separate and apart from The other noise out there. Definitely, I think, of myself as a clarifier of the issues, the number one thing is a clarifying how to think about the issue and giving people a way of thinking about the issue. That is very hard to argue with its really almost com, sense and yet is common practice. I think that's the single most important thing that I do to get people think
about you know weighing the benefits and side effects carefully, not assuming the earth. Is this delicate nurture recognizing its you know, I call it wild potential. It's a dynamic, deficient, dangerous place. rethinking their view that human impact is paris, autism and pollution, and no really we produce valley, you. We improve the earth, get what I call the framework more, I can establish a new framework of thinking about it. The better people will process the facts and the more the process, the wide of of, and if you look at, even the u n intergovernmental pen on clay, change. Some of my allies praise in a very critical of it cause. It ignores the fact that we fossil fuels to master climate. It ignores the fact that were far safer than never from club doesn't mention that once and thousands of pages that's like to use the polio analogy, that's like having a. We're on polio that doesn't mention the polio vaccine. It's just the thinking is so bad, but you can re frame it. It changes.
It's so quickly. So what I really doing is reframing the thinking and then I am giving people my account of what the full context of facts and What I think is fascinating about the two most people is, I'm drawing on mainstream sources. So it's not as if I just ransacked another conservative press fergus claims about I'm taking mainstream sources, and I even mention the u n alot, although I give qualifications to why. I think certain things will be exaggerated, but I say even if take the euins science on its own, which there's a lotteries into believers, is exaggerated. my basic cases still right. If you think about this from approach, human full context that is really what I'm doing and then the debunking is just. I mainly debunking. Totally irrational way of thinking about this. Where we just look at the negative side effects of fossil fuels, we assume their catastrophic. We assume the earth is delicate, nurture and we haven't talked about this. Much were not really folk.
stunned. Human life were focused on site leaving non human nature from humans as our top priority, and that is also going on like once you think of it from this perspective, and you have that other perspective, this anti human impact perspective debunk I think it's pretty straightforward, so the only central right debunk it is just it's as a means to putting forward the clear way of thinking, but personally. I would hate it if they are just false things and I'm just shooting at them- replaying workable. It's what I tried to do in a much smaller way on facebook was to simply say look. I am not opposed to wind, I'm not opposed to solar. I'm not opposed to the idea that we might find a better alternative at some point, but it seems very, head in the sand dish to pretended three billion people, aren't currently burning wood and done. And it seems even more crazy to pretend that india and china aren't together, building,
coal fired plant every single week and have every intention of doing so for the next thirty years, so how to feel about that where to put into the reality of all this year. That seems to be the question, because your book I mean, there's picture of the planet on the front: you're not talking about oklahoma or may. Therefore, you're, not talking about americans or germans or the french you're talking about humanity, you're, actually talking about eight billion people right now trying to get the best shot pop simple at living, something like a modern life and it seems like the basis of your argument- is that is physically and intellectually impossible to even ponder nevermind, accepting fossil fuels but embracing them and doubling and tripling down on them. And that put you in a
rather unique position yeah this an accurate summary ammunition and one of these weird things, because I don't you mentioned before, on these things, that people would probably do themselves like standing in the middle of new york city when there are three hundred thousand people protesting and I'm standing against the crowd, holding a giant ilo fossil fuel sign and have a green ilo, fossil fuel, a shirt and the thing I think that I got from a very young age, as I just have a distinction in my mind between what reality is and what people think and what we think is both to correspond to reality. But there is no guarantee that it does and certainly no guarantee that majorities, even majorities of designated experts will be right. So just the fact that a lot of people, If something it doesn't make me think it's false, then it might make me investigate it, but it doesn't have any power really when people just say: oh well, the earth is going to end and fossil fuels are evil. It's just like. If somebody said like how could you not believe in santa claus, just I've thought about
this in a very specific way, I can see that even the alleged experts who disagree with me are not thinking about it in a way that makes any sense there, ignoring them if it's a fossil fuels in very brazen way, including two things like agriculture? which is part of this, and I have an energy crisis in a food crisis, because people have ignored the fact that fossil fuels are, as I call them, the food of food because of fertilizer and machinery, and doesn't make any sense the way they're thinking about it. So in this position, where fifteen years. I started realising the way we think about. This doesn't make any sense by research for myself using mainstream sources primary source wherever I could- and I came to this conclusion- that is controversial people, but I think, is fairly obvious. when you have that view. It's a weird thing, because I dont get off on everyone disagree with me, but nor do I have a fear of everyone disagreement. I think more and more people agree with me. My goal is for a lot of people to agree with me. It's definitely not to be controversial be very happy to do something else, as soon as an have people agree with this position. This way of thinking
that we can actually rational energy policy and, as you mentioned so that Everyone in the world has an opportunity to what I would call flourish right night, another five billion people living on less ten dollars a day. I'd start to think about all the time that I am so rich just by being in this country? I have so much opportunity and most people have in a world that I would consider the apocalypse if I and showed that all the time and their world cannot be good unless they have machines to do all. There were a lot of their work for them and that's impasse. well today and for the foreseeable future without a lot of fossil fuels. You know, I think again. The temptation to want to separate things into clean little categories is part of what's polluting the conversation, because the most important part of a scientific mind where scientific mindset, in my view, is scepticism that level of objectivity is rooted in scepticism and yet
Today, if your sceptical about any number of claims, you get immediately re labelled as some sort of denier. So how can we encourage more sceptical thinking when the Washington post standing by, to throw a label like a science denier on. You were really anybody else who might question the claim. Ninety seven percent of all scientists agree with regard to climate change. I just see the huge conflict and all of that- and I know that you did a whole presentation on the ninety seven percent claim, and I I think that really speaks to what you're talking about. If you want to jump into that real quick, I did think of this different we then I dont think of scepticism is the main thing I think, being evidence based as the main thing. I see this. Sometimes this framing. It's me
Finally, your evidence, based through science and through other fields, knowledge, we're trying to know reality and is this thing we're access to through our senses and we can conceptualize it, but they can sexual liberation at least is very valuable and it can function. Well, I mean we ve accomplished enormous things by learning very specific causal relationships that we ve been able to very accurately predict the future with. So we know that we can get, finance and process it in a very rational way and have confidence. We also know it's possible to be wrong. in many ways, so I think of it as yeah. You want to be evidence based, which means that you want. When you hear claims particularly do claims. You want to be confident that the there's a lot of evidence for those claims and use we want to be open to being sceptical if there is insufficient evidence or if something about the reasoning seems wrong, or anything else seems often. I think you have it evidence based as a primary helps. You avoid the legitimate sense of denier
that accusation which, as somebody who just doesn't want to see the evidence at its heart- Come up with specific examples, because all the examples are controversial to people. But if you just see ok, there's evidence. They view circulate a hypothetical vaccine like as evidence that this vaccine really really works in this way or another side is evidence. This vaccine has really problematic side effects like you can just be. Oh, am sceptical. I'm not gonna think about this that's not what it is you're supposed to be skeptical of insufficient evidence or improper reasoning, not evidence as such, and so if we apply that to oh we're going to say something that's exactly what I'm headed. I was just going to say this. This is a mine referring to is the scepticism of the certainty with which the ep Thence is presented yes right, I mean the romans were pretty certain that some, was dragging the sun across the sky in a chariot like the best man, in science were pretty certain that these son
revolved around the earth. Galileo paid a pretty state, for that and you're the best minds in medicine said yeah. Let's get all the blood out of george Washington that'll save him wrong. Those examples on I I fully agree with because you know we really have modern science him in you had with modern. Then that's so we didn't. Have you the scientific method, we didn't have the same instruments. I mean the thing is when you have to have he did have an exalted view of having certainties trigger words, let's just say, hi confidence in scientific conclusions. Mike is true just thinking. I have high certainty, then she's a witch. Why? Because she flow, and when I throw in the waters now we're gonna burn. The idea is that, like the more you cannot take part of any a background in science and just even background thinking and stuff. Is you have an idea of it's hard to get to truths that you can have confidence in, including that have predictive significance and then also it's really hard to get
Confidence in ideas and one thing that we have talked about yet this important when you're talking about ideas, ideas our thoughts about human action and whenever you have thoughts. Human action values are always involved and multiple fields arose I think this is something that's fundamentally unappreciated by all the platforms today is they're trying to give you part of what people during their exploring ideas in them, but the way the platforms think of this as they think, ideas can be dictated by authorities and one reason that's impossible is because again ideas involve values and they involve the integration of multiple fields and nobody can be an authority on that for you without your own thinking, so that I have a lot of thoughts on platforms actually have my own small platform But I've been working on that's all interesting subject. If anyone wants check it out by the way you just gotta, thoughtful dot, community, slash alex- and you can see my approach to that. But you need to be not only skeptical. You need to be certain that their
wrong if somebody says that a specific, like idea about in a thought about action, is just like what everybody should do regardless of context, and that follows from the science does follow from the science the science can, just even if certain can inform and this bridge thus the ninety seven percent, which has so fallacies in it, but the basic fallacy is the fallacy of vacation so unfair equivocation means used the same word to mean different things. To manipulate people. So when you hear nineties percent of scientists say that climate change is real? You'll hear that right Then they also say ninety seven percent of scientists say that climate change is real human beings are, the main cause is also needed, recent scientists say the climate changes real and danger and then some say and catastrophic, and we need. to get rid of fossil fuels,
We need to move to solar and wind, so you went all the way from climate change is real, too We need to move specifically to solar rents are no nuclear. No, dro, that's what the scientists say, and so, if you look at what these surveys actually say, if they say fingers there's servies of papers, and try to say well what percentage of papers or people are saying that fifty percent or more of the warming of the last hundred plus years has been human cost and if that's true if ninety seven percent of the paper say that that is not at all an argument against fossil fuels, because I would believe that too, and I am saying that any negatives of that are far outweighed by the positives to falsify so the ninety seven percent, the actual research in so far as it exists, is totally consistent with a profile of your position, but via the fowls the codification its use to equate climate changes real with fossil fuels.
evil and we need to replace them with, alters that's the main thing, But there's details of the ninety seven percent, where they just infer, all these things are not even in the papers, but the main thing is the equating climate sign I believe that global one has been over. Fifty percent caused by humans to fossil fuels are evil and need to be replaced by solar, and that is totally unscientific, an unforgivable in my view, but- utterly certain. Yes, I'm that's different ways. For me, I don't even know who people never read the paper they don't even know the words, that's the search he. That should immediately be disturbing if somebody doesn't have any primary source access to it. They have no precision and yet their content in this direction and this policy- it's not the certainty that. Turning to me it's the lack of scepticism that follows right. I mean we were desperate for a playbook right now. I say we I think most americans would reach
He really love it if they could go to some place somewhere and find the truth. The objective truth of a thing now: No, that's not going to happen, but we pretend we all pretended. We found it bill mar quotes half a dozen sources and those sources, I think, are the thing that gives him permission to be both outraged and outrageous. He's got the sources you see, experts he's got the experts, that's right, and so, if you can point to a aim or and underline belief that says ninety seven percent of the experts are on my side. Will now all of a sudden, you have permission to be his confrontational, as you want and as certain as you want, and without scepticism alex that's what worries me. I was very sceptical of that. Ninety seven percent claim right but
I mean I'm a denier, I hope not, but in the minds of many I think it does so I'd try to give, particularly in chapter one of the book and chapter eight of fossil future, to give kind of guidelines for how you can ferret out bad reasoning or people trying to put things over on you because again we want to get valid knowledge from legitimate experts, or at least the thing that's most likely to be knowledge, and so no some of them are when there are clearly not looking at the full contact. in terms of their not paying attention to the benefits of something or not paying attention. Side effects. That's a flag when they're not weighing things carefully when they just are very sloppy about climate change, is real. Is the same as climate change the apocalypse? You know that's wrong, you know the two authority like when they just say, hey, listen to me, but I'm not going to explain things. That's a big flags, a number of things like this, where I think you can
You can know when to be skeptical, so I think part of what happens with you and with others with the ninety seven percent, as you felix something's being put over me. This is not what I would fact from a scientific perspective. I would expect hey here's kind of what's happening on earth hears why we think it here's the evidence, make it college degree of uncertainty. So here's what we don't know and then hear other factors. You might consider that I am not an expert in like fossil fuels and agriculture. Instead, what we is the? U n says if the earth one more degree because I say two degrees from now, which is degree warmer than pre industrial times, or even more. The world he's, gonna end and all the scientists say that, and I think you have, that exact figure. All the scientists say that, could that possibly be true and the new and then that the moral monopoly in the science pseudo monopoly those contribute consent? If you question it, then you're denier and a year,
maybe you now, you get punished by different sponsors area, get threatened in different ways: by just sharing something very, very reasonable, but it just owner, so offended that the tribe and so we're not going to refute you painstakingly, are correct. You were just going to threaten you and attack. You do you think, there's something to this idea and I'm generalizing, but at a very basic way. We seem to grow to resent that which we rely upon, doesn't really matter what it is, whether it's you know a plumber when we need him if we can't get him or her to come to the house in a timely fashion. We're we're outraged, we're just outraged if we flick the switch and the lights don't come on. If we flush the toilet and the crap doesn't go away and there's something at least with me, you know I checked my
self, as often as I can, but it we hate to be out of control and we feel like the climate feels like man that we are out of control, there's nothing. We can do about this, but that's not acceptable. So we must do something. Therefore, we must stop doing what we ve been doing. Stop relying on this thing that we ve grown to hate. Is that fuelling, as it were a lot of this I think about that more too quick thoughts are. What is just expectations is very fascinating thing psychologically could have so much to do with happiness. are you view some things. I just think with say I have a book that came out at this new Work has been very successful by most standards in its sold more than half as many copies already as my first big book, which is best seller, but I've just been thinking about. Well, if I expected to cells, many what jordan Petersen sold twelve rules for life. I'd be a total failure right now, whereas if I expect
did to sell an amount. That's a good pace to pay off my advance and get me another good book contract. There is great and it's just so interesting how you can have the exact same situation and the expectation. It just totally changes. I think about that. A lot psychologically and I think one thing to counter the way I think of it today is we have this miraculous world and we ex backed it to operate in this miraculous way, but we think it's normal and there's no appreciation or gratitude, and so one thing I think, helps a lot is having a deeper creation, for how amazing the world is particularly for those of us in the wealthy. What I call empowered world yet We appreciate men and appreciating the cause- and I talk about a chapter four We live in this amazing period where there's never been more people live. Longer lives with more resources, and we should be obsessed with how did this happen and how do we keep it gore, and yet we portrayed as another world is terrible and we need to get rid of the people which, though mars basically do
We need that fascination and then you need that appreciation- and I think that helps a lot seen these videos. Several people have made different versions of it, but basically they make a quick case for why we are living in what can only be described as the very best time in the history of history and its always a great gut check. When you go down the list of things and yeah you look around. You read the headlines, you look at your news feed. There is reason for concern so much so that You know the end of the world has really been embraced. Emmy people have embraced it Alex, and their shallenberg or saying apocalypse never and theirs Bill mar saying we're: dude I mean god they both sound certain you have a living will definitely projects. More of that then MIKE does I mean give way. I can be accused of more
and might does, I try to really focus on the method, though, and just like here is a way of thing That makes a lot of sense to me and then really being open to the facts. There I got my evaluation of the facts could be wrong, but also the facts. Change right, I'm dealing with issues dealing with. Basically, what are the different ways to power the world and that can change over time, including with in ways I don't expect it to and then you know, climate stuff can change within certain parameters, I still maintains impossible. The earth is gonna become unlivable, but the exact the amount of warming caused by sea or to the effects of that you know my views on that could easily change and ten years, depending on what happens- and I think you just need to be clear, unlike what confidence you have and why and never have like a tribal, never like a confidence in a group of people, You are aligned with rosy region at the big way. Groups worry me, they just worry me. I don't think there are consistent with the basic individual. Isn't it
that your spouse. But you said something earlier that really struck me, and it just came back this idea that there is a price for everything and we are actually pretty much in control of what we can agree to as to a fair price, and this changes right. It changes all of the time The word expectations made me think of it, but jog your remember. The old days I was the tylenol guy once upon a time for couple years, did dozens of commercials for tylenol, and this was after the great safety cap scandal you know and how they basically revolutionized the whole industry by. Changing the way? Where just the level of safety that existed with anything with a cap on it and so they were the ultimate safety analgesic right. They were, in others, the power since sodium and there's a cd
fan, and this in this, and this in that- and I remember big conversations over big neo labs about the number of people who wilder being hospitalized. As a result of you know, a liver, complication brought on by a seed, a medicine or some other complication brought on by sea. Other pain, reliever and how, if you got into the area of like twenty or thirty people, a year being hospitalized as a side effect of this kind of thing, very, very, very bad. You got yourself a huge problem and something has to change. Meanwhile, we ve got this stuff called aspirin, which is on the shelf right now and every year, something like seventy. Five to eighty five thousand people are admitted to the hospital, with stomach bleeding and rectal bleeding brought on by aspirin
now. The point is with that kind of stat in this day and age. That product would have never made it onto the shelf, not in a good julian years, but it did decades ago and it's still there and it still providing all kinds of benefits for people who take it. The idea that we went from being sanguine with eighty thousand hospitals. nations brought on by an unfortunate side effect to completely intolerant of ten or twenty or thirty. That somehow must play into the bargain that we're trying to parse with whether or not we can live with fossil fuels for the rest of our lives. Do they there is this incredible just taking for granted all that is amazing about the world and then having this basic expectation that everything should be as good as we can
janet. You see this with many things, including of her. To take my own example. If I could see myself very freedom- and I dont think the world is pro freedom enough. But just there's this view well. If I have a view, that's correct, in my view, everyone. I would agree with it in the world, is bad for not agree. With me verses my view as well: human beings. We just kind of started learning fairly recently including about systems of government. It's hard to understand what right so, even if I am right, it's hard to convince people, and I should work hard to convince fields. Displays to everything would certainly apply I to energy words like yeah, the grid should work perfectly. We should have abundant energy and then, if we do, like these co2 emissions, about something that we should feel get rid of it immediately and live in this perfect world. Without at versus saying: hey: what are the benefits? What are the side effects? What are our options if we want to lower our missions? What are our options and then you think of things like nuclear, but no, they just want to get rid of the thing That has the side effect. They don't like that and they want to get rid of options like nuclear.
and hydro, and then they want to get rid of mining and development. Even though solar wind or more mining and more development than any other form of energy, because they're so dilute in terms of their energy inputs from the the sun and the wind. So it's just so reporting to really basic, problematic thinking about the world. I think a lot of the solution is education should really stress how bad the world is to live with our us taking action, because what you really need to fear is human inaction and people. always fear human action tonight. I don't think you
wrote about this in the moral case for fossil fuels? Maybe I'm wrong, but cars, just the transportation industry as it exists today. It seems like public enemy number one when we talk about emissions and what has to change and so forth, and so on. It's amazing how quickly people forget- and I haven't forgotten, because I never lived at a time when horses were basically the primary motive. Transportation in major cities. Streets were filled filled with dung literally filled with him. When you talk about street sweepers once upon it, thai people today think wow they're out there. With the you know, a machine and they're just picking up litter and trash, no man they're in the street, with giant shovels and pushers, getting hundreds of tons of crap out of the way
The stench was unfavourable and the disease was incredible. I think that's why the roma had their sidewalk, so high above their streets. You had to be out of the street and the only way to correct this was to somehow get a car into existence. And now we ve got em. And it doesn't seem like anybody really cares to recall a time when we didn't. But that's not a time when you wanted to be alive. known are also part of it is when people look at new actions of hours, including new products. They just don't look at what it replaced and what life was like either because of the side effects of what it replaced or just because of the absence of it. So true, one exam for that. I used to use when talking about like a man and from fossil fuels, particularly in the wealthier lit putting on the? U s where a very low emissions we have good pollution control technology. Is I'd make the point that you know
the emissions of your fellow human beings, like the biological emissions from their bodies are way way more dangerous than these power plants, and if you really I recognise that and you had this mentality that, like all actions that can, was any damage should be prohibited. Then you wouldn't allow Human beings interact now, unfortunately, got anticipated that was picked up by the cove hidden hoof. People have recognised latest it's actually dangerous for us to interact with, but we can actually spread diseases including new ones and that's be challenging and you know it might need to take risks in terms of how much we interact and if there is a new virus, that's hard. You know that we don't have preexisting immunity gets like search, really scary. If you really think about you, ignore the benefits of actions, and you only look at the negatives of them. It's scary for that movement. To discover new actions that have negative consequences, because, ultimately you can be against any action
because it has some negative to you ignore wait. A second action makes life good compared to be really bad? When we can't take much action and then let's take actions that are far more benefits, the negatives and then what will continue to be better. I wanna be a respectfully time, but I also want to ask you: you talked a lot, a college, kids right. It seems like you and bench, a bureau and a few others are always out there in an that's sore, the lions den in law. Of ways, but what do you say to them right out of the gate, to try and frame the conversation or set the table in a way that makes a little more sense I'll say what it is: if people wanna look up like an example, they just search my name and like lafayette college was one hour. I remember doing this specifically will do as many debates as I can get. Let's say which is not as many as I would like, but yeah one thing I try to acknowledge the beginning of like ideas, the beginning of fossil future too, like I'm going to say something
that you might think is crazy and that I would never have expected to believe, namely, I think that the world to be using more fossil fuels not less- and I understand- is a hundred and eighty degrees opposite to what were told the experts think. So, if you give me a few I would like to explain to you how I came to this conclusion. So what Yes, just acknowledging been really some to persuasion is acknowledging your audiences context, yours Think about where you want them to be. We have just think about. Where are they the beginning, and I always think about I caught context, bridging but kind of What do I have to add to their knowledge, what I need to subtract from what they think they know, and and what do I need to modify something? Then? I might think that right about, but not quite the right way, so that's a lot of it is they think we're impacting climate free, but their assume gets in apocalypse, and I'm saying you should look at it in a more precise objective. The other thing I do to allow them to process. What I'm saying is I very early frame it as hey the way, I'm looking at
is carefully weighing the benefits and side effects, and I dont think that many of the p the whirling on his experts are doing that, and I often these days give the example of Michael man who's a famous. Climate scientists who is known for this controversial thing called the hockey stick which I didn't go into, but the main thing is that he's regarded as his expert and I point out. He has a whole book on fossil fuels and climate where he talks about agriculture, and yet he doesn't once mention any benefits. It's only negatives, even though fossil fuels provide the fertilizer, and the fuel for machines and without them, agriculture, as we know it, couldn't exist and billions of people literally. would starve and we're starting to see that- and I point out like even if Michael man is really good on climate, there is something really wrong with not looking at the benefits. I try to give them this framing of there's something wrong with the way we're taught to think about this issue? That's what motivated me to get into it and what I'm going to try to do is really look at the full context and that, of course, welcome questions. I find that when I frame it that way, people are open
to it because they become suspicious of the expert frame which is and then becoming suspicious of all the specific expert conclusions are legit expert conclusions. I want them. suspicious of the expert framing slash reasoning, because then really arguing hey, I'm taking expert knowledge and I'm integral it in a different way, because I'm looking at all of it with precision instead of just looking at a part of it with a certain by send tendency to exaggerate dummy, a bit more though about the platform again, because there are a lot of platforms out there. But it would be nice to have one that didn't dump. What's the word sock and I a background in computer science. That's what I went into before philosophy and I've. I've always had this fantasy. That oft, where in the internet could be used to help facilitate the exchange, ideas and, ultimately, the best ideas winning out, and I think that today is blocked,
forms are not at all designed for this and dont work. This way in large part because they are not designed for the extra of ideas and one example. We talked about before as a lot of these founders platforms. Leave that ideas which are really thoughts about action are something that can be dictated by authorities verses. My co founder, edible, This and all we think that, because they involve values, they involve idea, for many troops from many different fields like you really need the open exchange of ideas, and so one thing with thoughtful as we created something where we suppress no content, the content policies all turn by the users, the users decide who they follow, who they don't follow in commenting. you decide whether you allow others to the public to see your comments and if somebody comments on your profile, you can decide whether appears publicly. So it's all the content is curated by the users and we never minutes. I know this is totally inappropriate, so people on thoughtful
share ideas I think, are totally wrong and I don't have to follow them and thoughtful never impose them on you, but you can explore anything. You want on thoughtful sets of one big thing is that you really need a content policy that involves individual curation. You cannot have just no curation, you cannot have content suppression, that's one big element of it, but in the past, development of it is we wanted to create a place where you can find the most artful ideas and consider them, and we think of this ass, like gold in the ocean in others truly of dollars worth of gold in the ocean, but we can't really get at it because it's round out by so many other things and so much of what focused on a thoughtful is. How do we help you find the most thoughtful ideas, including different viewpoints, on every issue, so that you can have gold in the ocean and that's a lot of our focus and one main thing we do now. We make it very easy for you to find out what
content, as recommended by the people you find thoughtful and the people they find thoughtful, so thoughtful, it's real easy to set up so that you are gather together input from the sources that you think are thoughtful, whether there on thoughtful or whether it's a pod cast a blog, substantial video outside thoughtful, and so it ends up happening. Is your feet and thought? Was this parfait of really really high quality content? Really there's really nothing else like it to my knowledge, because most things you open happen is just a mess and thoughtful. You open up in the only problem is there just too much really and listing stuff. and we give you ways to manage that this is a totally different world. That's the only platform design and for exploring ideas in particular finding the most thoughtful ideas, so just feels total. different? It is new and I'm not saying it's free. Body, but for people who really of ideas and love, thinking about things and love, interacting with people and in an enriching way
I dont examining like it. So if we want to check it out, it's totally free you just gotta, thoughtful dot. Community slash Alex it's just my invite link as it's an invite only thing, but you know my name now: that's it s a thoughtful duck community, slash Alex and you can try it out and see what you think. How weird that something thoughtful sounds radical. I mean yes. What else is there to say? We live in interesting times, and I love the metaphor to, although it does, play out in a very literal way. I know you don't watch t v, but I narrate a show called the bering sea gold, which has been on for like ten years. You talk about getting the gold out of the ocean. This is guys out of nome alaska going out on the ice in the dead of winter digging holes in the ice diving in and with air and wet suits dry suits they're down there, four seven, eight hours time with these giant hoses sucking gold off the floor.
And what former they sucking it like pieces of gold They have a hose there's so much gold up there and you are right. There are trillions of dollars of gold out there in the actions, but there's a lot of concentrated off the shores of nome, because there was so much mining done up their up in the hills, sank back in the days and a lot of it has just wash. Out, but there was a lot of gold down there anyway, and so I visit seen guys swimming on the sea floor not swimming just kind of crawling around these big giant, hoses and not come across a nugget, the size, you, your thumb, there's suck it right up most of its dust, it's the kind of fine particulates that you have to pay for you know. Instead aims and rivers and what not, but they suck it all up, and it goes into this mechanism, these shakers and these guys there's a guy up there.
Sean palm ranking. I think he made three million dollars last year. Second, gold off the floor. I'll bet you that sucker is using fossil fuels. better believe it is man. It's nice assessed using on way on by wind. Yes, anything now, that's gonna win what a perfect place the ended with the metaphor, bring it back to the gold and the money. That's probably driving really all of this, my god, the money. You know what I didn't ask you, then I meant to what did you first think when you watched and inconvenient truth? That's been over twenty years now so you're pretty young, but how it. You, then so I didn't watch it for a while. It came out in two thousand six, I'm pretty sure- and I really got into these issues in two thousand and seven, but And so when I came into these issues, I definitely wasn't enthusiastic about fossil fuels. I did have the advantage of a really strong,
trust in environmental philosophy, in a very strong belief that the failing. Environmental philosophy is anti human because it regards human impact, is evil and inevitably self destructive, and I think human impact generally good as long as this intelligent and generally makes the earth better So I knew about this bias that modern, thinkers have against impact in including that they tend to catastrophes? Actually I learned this, I think, is a tree or not. And finally, in this manner and in any case sure from some of her, some object This thinkers religious made this point that human impact were taught to think human and act is bad, and yet we survive and flourish by impact and wasn't she excuse me Alex, but didn't she right? I think it was an atlas shrugged, there's a guy who basically predict did the whole shale revolution he has gone up- that was crazy, but I read it. Sure guys Eighteens is ninety. Ninety eight I didn't know anything about oil back then, but I re read it
many times, but I saw the shell revolution happen, knowing that this was what I tell us why it did in the book right. It just shows you how impossible this was considered that this was the fantasy. I minutes it's like. We don't have reared and metal, and we don't have golf motor at this point. actually have ellis whites shale energy yeah, so it some that was a really cool thing. Safety on her work it. A book called the anti industrial revolution. Surely talks about how the modern environmental movement has this hostility towards human impact and then she starts to show how there's this tendency to come up with these catastrophic portrait rules of our impact to scare people into the industrialized. So I had this to the modern environmental movement. So I was sceptical, for I think, good reason is the kinds we're talking about of the catastrophe, claims and sky. Typical of the very statist solutions. I d really think about the benefits of fossil fuels, and but I took me a wilder watch in income
in truth, and by the time I did, I knew quite a bit about the issue so that happen. Wait. A second he's saying see Rules are going to rise by twenty feet and he scaring us about this, and this is a scenario that some people say may happen and thousands of years and he's acting like its imminent and in theirs, one mentioned very benefits of us and the whole thing nowhere in a second movie and it just once I saw that why this? Why such a helpful framework to have that we have to look at the whole complex viewers this you're gonna start seeing it ever going to start people's seeing people talk about all these things involving fossil fuels. There can act like there's, no, will benefit over time. It'll seem as absurd as somebody again talking about vaccines or antibiotics, as if there are no benefits to those. I think we talked about this a couple of weeks ago. I I forget with whom, but the idea that you know example vice the whole notion washing your hands before you cut somebody open and start removing organs was seen as yet
ninety seven percent of doctors back in the days that that's a bunch of bull, crap, you're crazy and they locked them up so back to skepticism back to certainty back to persuasiveness back to bill Maher. It's all about the star trek by the way, isn't it weird? You mentioned, I read, I think the same thing now when I watch old reruns of star trek the first time I saw him on the idea that the war would open when you approached it. The idea that you could do this and start talking to someone the I'd just like so many little things in that show, are now a part of every day life? Now we dont have the transporter yet and we're still work on the phaser. I suppose, but why in the world, would we ever be shocked to look up one day and have
both yet is an amazing world and there there's a shortcoming is that we don't have enough freedom in the physical part of the world and of course, you ve been known for properly paying tribute to, but people talk about bits, verses, atoms and we have a lot more freedom and software. Then we do in hardware and more broadly, the physical related that's where that's most exe Waiting to me is the more We can get people to be enthusiastic about our impact and intelligently impact in the world. The more we can free people to innovate terms are making transportation better and making housing better and just really having a more abundant world. We have to appreciate how amazing it is, but also appreciate, particularly for the poor people in world how much room there is to improve and then for us. You know we want to think of ourselves as poor fifty years from now, we think of today s poor fifty years now. That really requires more what we could call industrial freedom and we're not gonna get that teleport I think we're ever at that, but
you're going get a lot of physical miracles. If you allow more industrial freedom, while one thinks for sure you know, we didn't talk much about diversity of thought, but your platform speech in general. What you're doing over on Prager, you know what I got a lot of grief for the last facebook post. I got a lot of grief for doing a talk at Prager you I got a lot of grief for my bodies on the law left when I went on Glenn back back in two thousand five too hot my foundation, and I got a lot of from my bodies on the right when I went on bill mar two days, later and said the exact same stuff to him,. I guess the moral of the story is you're. Gonna get grief, no matter what you do and I started by saying you seem like a guy who's. Ok with that- and I hope that stays the case for you for many years to come. I just want people to engage with me and the ideas, even if
You have me on and treat me unfairly. I don't particularly care if I get the offer to talk a little bit. I'm confident I can reach new people so also say I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you and your audience cause. You know some people are going to hear this way of thinking and some people will like it and we never know what those people will do with it. I just talking a guy from kenya. I was held him with something name is just Is this go fund me to help with his education because he wants he's an african farmer who wants to study in the uk and he wants to become an agricultural champion and energy champion africa and like this guy covered me being a greenpeace. I who learned about Patrick more, you know the contrary and co founder of greenpeace and then learned about me in the comments and unfair it's just amazing what how great it. That we can just share ideas and new independent mines can discover them such a super exciting. To get to speak to such a large
audience of people who are already inclined toward your thoughtful way of thinking about these issues. Well, you've written a great book, it's called fossil future. It's easy enough to find wherever great books found the one before that. Would you recommend reading that first or does it matter never tolerate it you're not kidding unless you're such a fan of mine that you want the history. No fossil future replaces the moral case for fossil fuels. Fuels which will pop up is our goal yeah it's unusual to write a replacement book, but I just felt like I knew how to do it ten times better, and so many issues had changed. So I just like a well. I think I can make the best impact by just doing at much better sunday. You don't need to read the moral case, robustness if he becomes fascinated by me that you want to know the evolution of my thought, then go for it, but I'd rather you read fossil future again, a red forty percent of its cause.
telephone, the moral case for fossil fuels, is relative to fossil future. Road was your first book when my first book was called fossils. yours improve the planet. It's a similar theme, but it was just a collar action of essays that I wrote I didn't have a publisher at the time and it was my books have in very different amounts if the aims of fossil fuels and further plant, I think, took me fourteen hours to put together my essays and write an introduction, a moral case for fossil fuels. Six months and follow future knowing much much more took over three years. Really just trying to take it to a different level, my own much happier with fossil future than I was with any of my previous things immune. Moral case I loved, but I knew just had mastered. It is well, I wanted to say that think of you. Don't really need to read any the others in a nice. Hopefully, in three years I dont think fossil future needs to replace replaced, hopefully think it needs to be updated, because it's it's hot,
just redo your thing, I think we know exactly what's gonna happen, every three years? You're gonna write the same book again in a slightly different way. I think that's awesome. That's that honest endorsement- I've ever heard, don't read my first book are you do avoid my second but third bottle change your life, till I write my fourth. What exact then I'm sorry, but you got the best I had to offer at the time exempts the value Pritchett your time and your perspective. Obviously I mean the stakes are high and I think it's important people look at both sides of this much Gentlemen, I don't go mars listening. You heard him, you don't mind if you try, unfairly? So I have mine, you got nothing to lose exactly see.
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Transcript generated on 2022-08-10.