You-all reg’lar reader types know, by now, that I really really don’t like lazy articles that drum up an impression of a false symmetry where there is none to be had in reality. But I’ve stumbled across a very striking and real symmetry, and one that I think is at the core of our lazy polarization.
No action of any kind should be tolerated unless it can be proven beyond doubt that it has no net negative impact on the earth as a whole system.
On the other, we have a libertarian philosophy which can be summarized as almost the diametrical opposite:
No restrictions of any kind on individual behavior should be tolerated unless it can be proven beyond doubt that they infringe on the rights of others.
Now, see, most people think science is about “proof”, which shows what a terrible job we are doing of conveying the stuff of science to the world, but that’s another topic. The point here is that in both cases the person making the claim is asking for a sort of proof that is totally impractical even in the best of circumstances. To take matters further, of course, people who choose not to be convinced by evidence of something they find intuitively distasteful just won;t be convinced. Your evidence, no matter how well corralled and paraded before them, will surely be insufficient, and they will have a vast array of well-formatted pseudoscience, replete with charts and graphs for every legitimate piece of work you show them.
The precautionary principle is a moral and political principle which states that if an action or policy might cause severe or irreversible harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of a scientific consensus that harm would not ensue, the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the action
The main problem is that “proof” thing.