Chicken Little: The (Moral) Sky Is Falling

While the current election season is somewhat entertaining, it is also following a predictable pattern. This is especially true among the Republican candidates.

The Chicken Little message is that this election is the most important in history. That is because the nation is falling into a moral abyss and “only I” can stop the moral decline. I am quoting somewhat closely several candidates including Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz. He recently plagiarzed Robert Bork’s book name, Slouching to Gomorrah.

I wonder if the majority of the public sees his moral judgments as I do, as arbitrary rules he inherited from his own particular history.

Another candidate who talks a lot about morals is Marco Rubio. He cleverly attends both Protestant evangelical and Catholic services to make sure his “moral” bases are covered. Reporters here in Iowa have been trying to pin him down as to whether he would advocate exception to abortion bans for rape and incest. He is firmly in favor of both no exceptions and exceptions.

That this particular election is more important than any other due to a decline in morals reminds me that Jesus thought the world would end in his lifetime. Countless other people have predicted the end as well. I think the current prediction is December 15, 2015.

One wonders if the Chicken Little effect will kick in, that people will grow weary of hearing the end is near of collapse of morals is eminent. It seems obvious morals just chug along, changing in certain ways as society changes, but never really get worse.

24 Responses

  1. nemo80

    hello Jon, I’m back, briefly I hope. You say that Cruz’s rules are “arbitrary, inherited from his own history…”. If that is true what about your own rules? Are they not, then, inherited from your own history? Seems to me that arbitrary is short hand for a kind of moral universal solvent, a relativistic sink hole. BTW, as to the Chicken Little bit, what about the apocalyptic rhetoric surrounding so much of today’s climate change discussion. Chicken Little, it seems, is quite active these days.

    1. nemo80 9:30 You say that Cruz’s rules are “arbitrary, inherited from his own history…”. If that is true what about your own rules? Are they not, then, inherited from your own history

      Good point. I’ve never thought my thoughts of morality were so perfect I would run for office promising to put them into effect. As I wrote in the blog, morality morphs with social change. There was a time, a very long time, when working on Sunday was a sin in the same league some now consider abortion and gay marriage to be.

      Whether the Chicken Little analogy applies to scientists, some 99% of them agree man made activities are contributing, we will know eventually. I think the conservative thing to do is assume they are right, make whatever adjustments we can and stay on the safe side. The sacrifices are not that great.

  2. Adam Heckathorn

    On Morals I have made some drastic changes. Although I have held on to many morals I had as a believer others have been let go as based on someone’s interpretation of what is moral. In the past when I faced the common dilemma of what I was being instructed as to god’s opinion seemed to be abysmally immoral, for example god sanctioned genocide, I would reach for certain scriptures to enable Me to accept the horridly awful. A favorite for enabling the acceptance of the worst was; New International Version
    “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Just trust God and I can’t go wrong! I base what is moral today on what is beneficial to Myself and others and what is harmful to Myself and others. The world is not black and white it is gray. Real moral behavior is too often excruciating to determine.

  3. Adam Heckathorn

    Nemo80 “as to the Chicken Little bit, what about the apocalyptic rhetoric surrounding so much of today’s climate change discussion. Chicken Little, it seems, is quite active these days.” No one credible that any of Us know has any real proof that a deity exists never mind that He has an opinion on what is moral for Us humans. As to global warming there is data proving it. Data gathered with scientific instruments. We don’t have to trust anyone We just have to have the ability to read and to judge for ourselves the conclusions the data reveals.

    1. nemo80

      a little caution here. The scientific instruments are not infallible. Moreover even marginally reliable instrumental records extend back, at most, 300 years. Not a very long time, that. Without going into a lot of detail, I think that I can plausibly say that much of the global warming hypothesis rests on guesswork, flawed records and inference. As well as on computer models that haven’t proved to be notably accurate in their projections. None of which to say that we are not going through a warming regime. There is no doubt that we are, especially in the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere. What bothers me is the Chicken Little alarmism that seems to have become the stock and trade of the climate change rhetoric. Perhaps some people do protest too much. Eh?

      1. nemo80 10:58 a little caution here. The scientific instruments are not infallible. Moreover even marginally reliable instrumental records extend back, at most, 300 years. Not a very long time, that. Without going into a lot of detail, I think that I can plausibly say that much of the global warming hypothesis rests on guesswork, flawed records and inference

        So your conclusion is global warming and it consequences might not happen? I can agree “might not” is plausible. I think you also have to agree the consequences might happen.

        I visited the country of Bangladesh a few years ago. Of countries over 10 million people it is the most densely populated. It has 170 million people. It is a low elevation country. The estimation is 20 million people will be displaced due to global warming. There is no place on its land mass to house or support such a number–it is one of the poorest countries in the world. Anyone who thinks such a migration will not see millions coming here is engaged in wishful thinking.

        If we go around the world there are multiples of this number that will be displaces if global warming plays out. So even if the odds are only 1 in 10 this will happen, and, steps to reduce the event do not impose catastrophic burdens, the prudent thing is to start doing them–at least that is how I see it. I think this is a conservative reaction, not a liberal one.

    1. Julius 1:29 Welcome back, Julius. Thank you for that. I entered it twice in Bing and it confirmed I was correct–but I thought that cannot be correct. Oh, well, embarrassed again.

      How are things with you these days?

      1. entech

        I would have expected criticism from Julie if you had used the English style spelling with an ‘s’. Interesting that people who have no legitimate and valid complaint, argument or addition to a subject spend so much effort finding fault with the format or spelling.

        1. entech 7:07 I’ve heard it said, and perhaps experienced it myself, that correcting someone else’s grammar or spelling makes one feel smart. That said, I’m happy to have my mistakes pointed out so I can correct them–even if it is done with a touch of ridicule.

          1. entech

            There you go Jon, wrong again. You are not being corrected with a touch of ridicule at all, your criticism, as so often, comes in a form and from a source which is ridiculous.

          2. nemo80

            Altho’ given our human nature, we often resent having our mistakes, grammatical or otherwise, pointed out to us, it is one of the best ways that we can learn. How often have you, I or anyone learned from others who point out our ignorance, our foolish certainties, whatever.

  4. Henry

    Adam 10:02: “As to global warming there is data proving it.”

    This reminds me of the City of Fargo leadership. They are constantly fighting the past’s battles. They are fighting floods that happened 20 years ago that we survived with a lot less infrastructure. We will be sitting on top of a $2 billion flood control system and will be out of water. Now, West Fargo is going to buy water from Fargo , placing more demand on the Red River. Do any of these people look at the photos of the dry Red River riverbed in 1936? Lake Ashtabula will only last so long during a protracted drought.

    While we are being sucked in deeper and deeper with this global warming BS, our utility bills skyrocket as one coal plant after another falls off the rolls. Meanwhile, we are spending billions on global warming prevention when the science points to a coming cooling cycle. None of these geniuses have a plan for that.
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/616937/GLOBAL-COOLING-Decade-long-ice-age-predicted-as-sun-hibernates

    1. Henry 6:11 Now, West Fargo is going to buy water from Fargo , placing more demand on the Red River. Do any of these people look at the photos of the dry Red River riverbed in 1936? Lake Ashtabula will only last so long during a protracted drought.

      One little point. It will not affect the water supply if W. Fargo has its own plant or buys water from Fargo. W. Fargo would have to get its water from the Sheyenne or Red. It is drawing from wells now that are depleting.

      I agree there are long term doubts about water in those rivers. When I was on the Garrison Diversion we spent $10 million of studies for a route for Missouri water to the Red. Apparently, that is now all shelved and new there is search for a new route. Even with a pipe in place and a drought in the Valley, the Feds still have to approve moving water from the Missouri. Other states will complain and it may not happen.

      1. Henry

        That West Fargo will be sucking from the same nipple as Fargo will compound the problems during a drought unless they are purposely reserving the wells, keeping them in operating condition for a drought period. That would be smart.

        The solution to the coming drought cycle can be many-pronged. The effluent out of the Fargo Wastewater treatment plant is cleaner than the waters in the Red River, Recycle it. It would also be easier to process than river water.

        We could also do like Saudi. Use the waste flare gas out west to desalinate the saltwater encountered in the wells. Voila! Fresh potable water. And we can be green and “save the ozone hole” by doing it. The saltwater that needs to be injected back into the ground can be significantly reduced. A win-win-win.

        We can’t count on Missouri River water. Sakakawea will be dry before we get to far into the drought cycle so that a couple of barges can be floated in the State of Missouri.

        Fargo should have backup wells like West Fargo and Moorhead for emergency use.

        But…..instead, we will refight the battles from the floods 20 years ago, where heroes were made. Instead of relying on a cemetery, the diversion will be a death memorial for these heroes. That is partially what it is about.

        These flood battles have already been won with new and improved infrastructure. Just think of the money certain firms in charge of the diversion can make by creating a flood protection district. These certain firms will in some occurrences act as both the City Engineer and the consultant simultaneously with a conflict of interest. It will be ok, though. Just ask them. Their cut will be a tidy sum. Their normal cut is what? 10% of the construction cost. That would be a $200 million fee. The $2 billion project cost is inevitable. All the right arguments will be made to guarantee that $200 million fee. They can well afford it….on our backs.

        1. Henry 8:49 You have thought it through pretty well. Yes, a many pronged approach, reclaiming sewage a big part. If there is water in the Missouri there is also trucking or an emergency pipe along the interstate. I had not thought of reclaiming the salty brine–seems possible also.

          There has been more experience than we’ve ever seen in lowering municipal water via California. Brown golf courses among them. I suppose its still true, water use volume in all ND cities, probably all Midwestern cities, doubles in the summertime. It has to be mostly water use that could be eliminated.

          As to the role of engineering firms in lobbying for the diversion–it’s not a pretty site to be sure.

    2. Wolfy32

      Wow, I’m actually terrified to say this and you’ll be horrified probably. But, I 100% actually agree with you Henry. I thought the whole lobbying for Federal and State funds to fund a multi billion dollar flood protection program to protect against a flood that happens once every 100 – 500 years is a bit ridiculous? If we planned for and lobbied for funds for things that could happen once every few hundred years, our global economy would be more broke than it has ever been! It boggles me that Fargo is lobbying for a Missouri pipeline, while trying to get funding for flood protection. How does this remotely make sense?

      It boggles me.

      As to desalination, I know it takes a lot of energy to desalinize water. Also why it’s not used more yet. It almost takes more energy than the amount of water one gets out of it, much like our ability to produce fusion reactions right now. Takes many times more energy to produce a fusion reaction than the amount of energy we get out of a fusion reaction.

      That said, California and the mideast has led the way in Desalinization and it may become a global solution to water needs someday! Though, my understanding right now is the Reverse Osmosis (on a giant scale) method of desalinization in California right now works for drinkable water but the water is not usable for agriculture. The amount of salt left in the water is similar to what is left behind in drinkable water from a water softener. 1-2 teaspoons per gallon of water. This is still too much salt for agriculture to use for growing crops and/or to keep grass green.

      I agree, we’ll get there, but I don’t think the affordable technology is suitable yet for agriculture, which, just guessing here, but as an agricultural state, I’m guessing that’s exactly where we’d need water.

      I do think something needs to be done, aside from flood protection against 500 year floods…….

      1. Henry

        Wolf: “As to desalination, I know it takes a lot of energy to desalinize water. Also why it’s not used more yet.”

        That is why you use waste energy (flaring).

  5. Adam Heckathorn

    The stars must be aligned! There is actually something to what Henry has said to global warming. There is a chance it could cause a drastic change in ocean currents resulting in an ice age.

    1. Wolfy32

      NASA has monitored various ice sheets for a while now, and there’s two pieces of puzzling data. One is that the ice sheets were “melting at alarming rates”. Indicating a possible global warming. I’ve sensed a sense of relief now though as people have indicated “the ice sheets that were melting are now gaining mass.”

      So, the question is truly complex. What we don’e know is “what’s normal” or “to be expected” in the season the Earth is in.

      There is an indication that entire Galaxies are moving through space. This would include all the stars, planets, etc. They’re all in some type of continual motion. If this is the case, we know that the earth has seasons in orbiting the sun. There could also be seasons in the sun in whatever it’s movement is and/or in it’s orbital period. (if it has one). Whatever the movement is, there’s a chance that even the sun has seasons. They could be in 10,000 increments for all we know. So, a global cooling or heating of the planet and “climate” change, well, is it something man is directly responsible for or is it a natural phenomena the sun and planet naturally go through every so many thousands of years? (or heck every so many millions of years?)

      1. nemo80

        some folks are even predicting a new Maunder minimum (i.e. a period with relatively little solar activity). From which it follows that we may be entering a cooling period. I am not prepared to buy into that one, but who knows for certain. I certainly don’t.

        1. wolfy32

          That’s a great point Nemo! And I wholeheartedly agree! My problem with humanity is that we tend to blame ourselves…. We ate of the forbidden fruit, we screwed up, we’re screwed up, and need fixing. We are who we are on a planet in the conditions we’re in. I don’t know if it’s solar seasons, galactic seasons, or something we’re doing. The funny part of this is that our arrogance continues in terms of us thinking we’re responsible for destroying our planet. Maybe we are, I don’t know that, but, it seems convenient that we’ve been on this hunk of rock for millions of years, and so far, we haven’t done anything to cause it’s or our destruction… And a lot of bad things have happened, such as 2 nukes used in actual combat, numerous other nuclear blasts from just testing out nuclear bombs. Numerous diseases, viruses, bacteria, genetic mutations, droughts, floods, meteor strikes, and so much more.

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