Letters to The Editor 9-22-2022

Meteorologist or Religion

In regards to Scott Presnal’s letter (Vol.4, Issue 17) in the most recent issue of Estero Bay News: Mr. Presnal, please briefly explain the relationship between your claim to be a meteorologist, which is based on science and fact, and a belief in the Christian religion, which is man-made.

William Fritch 
Los Osos

Lack of Proof is not Proof of Lack

I was moved by the recent letter to the editor by Scott C. Presnal, (Vol. 4, Issue 17)

He noted that he is concerned about the way “climate research has been done.” He implies that scientists are unable to PROVE that adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere will result in significant harm to many people on the planet, and therefore we lefties should stop using fear to motivate people to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

The writer made a great error—confusing lack of proof with proof of lack.

I will grant that it is impossible to “prove“ that CO2 is causing irreparable harm to life on Earth. Impossible because we do not have a large number of identical planets upon which to perform a randomized study. If we did, then we could subject each “Earth“ to various levels of CO2 and let them roll around their respective suns for eons and see how they turned out.

Mr. Presnal implies that because we cannot prove that excessive levels of CO2 are causing harm (lack of proof), then excessive CO2 must not cause harm (proof of lack.)

This is false logic, and a dangerous and irresponsible position to take.

A more logical, and prudent, position is that until we have proof that excessive CO2 causes no harm, we should significantly reduce our levels of fossil fuel consumption.

This topic is dealt with more fully in a wonderful book by Nassim Taleb titled “The Black Swan.”

In another of his books—“Skin in the Game”—Taleb presents the idea that we should not listen to people who make recommendations unless they will suffer consequences if those recommendations are wrong.

I wonder if Mr. Presnal would be making the same recommendations if he and his family lived in Tonga, an island nation that is disappearing under the rising seas.

Malcolm McEwen
Morro Bay

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