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To test the Feynman Contention with Nobel Laureates and climate change

Summary:
Andrew Simms, he formerly of the Not Economics Frankly groupuscule, has rounded up a group of Nobel Laureates to insist that stern governmental action is necessary concerning climate change and fossil fuels. Given that Simms is involved it is obviously going to miss the economic point under discussion.Which provides us with a lovely example against which to test the Feynman Contention:I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.We tend to extend that a little and muse that a scientist looking at a problem outside her own area of expertise is that, umm, misguided shall we say.The plan is that there must be lots of fierce government activity to keep those fossil fuels in the ground. Actions and plans and international meetings and

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Andrew Simms, he formerly of the Not Economics Frankly groupuscule, has rounded up a group of Nobel Laureates to insist that stern governmental action is necessary concerning climate change and fossil fuels. Given that Simms is involved it is obviously going to miss the economic point under discussion.

Which provides us with a lovely example against which to test the Feynman Contention:

I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.

We tend to extend that a little and muse that a scientist looking at a problem outside her own area of expertise is that, umm, misguided shall we say.

The plan is that there must be lots of fierce government activity to keep those fossil fuels in the ground. Actions and plans and international meetings and opportunities for losers to be picked. As with the absurdities like biofuels that have already been foisted upon us.

We did look through the list of Laureates and noted a lot of chemists, some peace folks, a writer or two, even a few economists. We did though note an omission, someone missing. That’s Bill Nordhaus whose Nobel was in fact for studying what should be done about this problem of climate change. The answer being, as with the Stern Review, not to have lots of lovely government plans and actions but instead to add that carbon tax to market prices and thus both allow and insist that our only valid calculating machine, the economy itself, chew through the problem for us.

We’d suggest that the Feynman Contention is in fact true along with that extension of it that we apply.

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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