Sunday, February 24, 2008

What's wrong writh the precautionary principle

Wretherd is talking about end of the world scenarios ...

The first question that arises in connection with these observations is why the 'precautionary principle' beloved of environmentalists does not apply to all possible disasters, just some. After all, if the earth is doomed to encounter a hydrogen cloud in 40 million years, which is a short time in comparison to the life of the planet and its biosphere, isn't it time to accelerate our technological development so that we can develop the starships to get away? After all 40 million years may not be enough lead time, given the engineering challenges that must be faced to evacuate from the vastness of the threat. Admittedly extinction by hydrogen cloud is an unlikely, or at least incalculable danger. But the precautionary principle says that if some danger exists you have to prepare for it. My guess is the precautionary principle is always trumped by opportunism principle. Dangers which can't be used as opportunities to advance a political agenda are not covered by the precautionary principle. And therefore there won't be a UN Conference on Hydrogen Clouding any time soon.
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