Pascal and climate change

By Steve Outing

I like this video argument about climate change/global warming and whether or not we should accept the costs of doing something about it:

This is basically Pascal’s wager as applied to climate change/global warming. (Pascal suggested that it’s a better “bet” to believe that God exists than to not believe, because even if you believe and are wrong, there’s no penalty at the end, whereas if you don’t believe and are wrong, there is a penalty at the end.) Frankly, I don’t buy it when it comes to belief in “God,” but I’m not willing to bet that climate change isn’t real and risk a very bad future by not acting.

What strikes me as curious is that some (many?) skeptics of humans’ role in climate change are conservative and religious — apparently adherents to Pascal’s logic. Pascal’s wager as applied to religion puts the penalty on an individual; applied to climate change, the penalty is on humanity as a whole. Global warming skeptics’ logic escapes me.

(And just so I don’t go completely off topic — since my blog is normally about new media — I’ll note that this is an interesting way to get a message out. The video’s narrator asks that if you like the message, share the video with your friends, post it on your social networks, put it on your blog, etc. I’ll be interested to see if this goes viral in a big way.)

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!