20 May 2019


Bob Murphy Show, Climate Change, Shameless Self-Promotion 9 Comments

==> On the Bob Murphy Show, I explain why plea deals are a gross miscarriage of justice.

==> Then on the next episode–which has been my favorite thus far–I interviewed the Chair of Harvard’s Astronomy department to talk about black holes and the strange object ‘Oumuamua. (Is it aliens? Hey, don’t scoff–the guy makes a convincing case.)

==> At IER, I explain why it’s simply not true that we “have a decade left” to deal with climate change. My source? The UN’s periodic compilation of the “consensus science.” Don’t be deniers, Ocasio-Cortez and O’Rourke.

9 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Harold says:

    I agree that plea bargains will inevitably lead to miscarriages. But look at the money they save! I assumed everybody thought this, but thought the deal was worth it. You will get more wrong convictions, but also more right ones.

    The witness is John Smith! It took a long time to get there. As you point out, one problem with your argument is that the police cannot promise you will get any prison time. You must be convicted first. However It seems pretty obvious that unless everyone believes convicting the innocent is impossible, then there will be more innocents convicted with plea bargains than otherwise. Think at the margin.

    However, I think you are missing another target that makes the situation much worse than it needs to be. The police in the USA are allowed to lie in the interview. They can tell you that they have evidence they don’t have. They can tell you they have your fingerprints at the scene, they have your DNA, they have eyewitness identification, your alleged accomplices have fingered you (if that is the correct term) etc etc. This makes it impossible for the accused to correctly asses the chance of incorrect conviction.

    What the police in the USA cannot legally do is threaten family members. Your example about sending daughters to jail would actually be illegal. “A threat by police to arrest or punish a close relative, or a promise to free the relative in exchange for a confession, may render an admission invalid.” People v. Steger (1976) 16 Cal.3d 539, 550. (No, I don’t know what those numbers mean, I just copied it.)

    In the UK, the police are not allowed to lie about evidence since the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 – note the ironic year. Audio recordings are also mandatory. This followed the incorrect convictions of the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four. these were both very high profile terrorist cases where convictions were based on coerced confessions and later shown to be unsound. It led to comments about getting arrested for being Irish in a public place. This would be a relatively modest change and whilst it would not completely remove the problem of plea bargain injustice, it would reduce it.

  2. Transformer says:

    I’m a bit confused about your use of those IPCC numbers to refute O’Rourke and Ocasio-Cortez as I think the 12 years claim itself comes the IPCC


    It looks like the number you quote are from a few years ago (since your original post on krugman was from 2014) but this link is from October 2018. To my untrained eye it looks like the IPCC has (at least implicitly) increased its estimates of the costs of global warming since 2014 in a way that supports the more alarmist view. Are there reasons to think that is not the case ?

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Transformer I am happy to check it out, but do you have a specific place in that report that says the 12 years thing?

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Transformer did you read Bailey’s reason article? I’m pretty sure he shows what made AOC say that, and further shows she is simply wrong.

      • Transformer says:

        Thanks, the Bailey article is very good. It identifies the source for the 12 year claim

        ‘The report’s authors calculated that in order to have a significant chance of remaining below the 1.5°C threshold, the world would have to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 40 to 50 percent by 2030 and entirely eliminate such emissions by 2050. So yes, the report says there’s an expiration date if humanity decides to aim for that temperature target.’

        And then puts that into the context of GDP loss if the 1,5% target is missed (the IPCC number say GDP in 2100 would be 8.2 percent lower than it would otherwise be) and a bunch of things that are harder to cost out but mostly sound pretty bad:

        ‘This is not to say that will not be significant changes for the worse in a hotter world. Coral reefs will likely be badly damaged by warmer seawater; storms may be worse; Arctic sea ice would disappear in the summers, possibly making northern hemisphere weather more erratic. And the summer temperatures in most American cities will resemble those that are currently several hundred miles further south and west of them.’

        So I’m thinking that most people’s fears on global warming are based on these unquantifiable bad things and not the GDP loss .. But I agree that even the worst-case scenario doesn’t really add up to Cortez’s ‘our kids are doomed’ rhetoric.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          Also Transformer, you need to analyze it on the margin. What if they did those two emissions goals, but in the years 2040 and 2060 respectively? What would happen to those damage estimates then?

          Or putting it another way, if the world warms by 1.6C then what happens? That’s surely a lot better than warming by 3C.

          • Transformer says:

            I agree but the way the issue has been framed (to some extent even by the IPCC report) exceeding 1.5% is now seen as a tipping point above which the risks of the various bad things happening goes up significantly.

  3. Mark says:

    Bob –

    Have you ever considered if there are any biblical arguments for or against aliens?

    • Bob Murphy says:

      A little bit, Mark. I know some people think the Nephilim could be aliens.

Leave a Reply