Last month marked the release of Superfreakonomics, a sequel by economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner to the 2005 bestseller Freakonomics. The fanfare surrounding this prefix-enhanced release has been marred, however, by controversy surrounding a chapter on global warming. Starting with this entry on ClimateProgress.org, the debate has drawn a few responses on the Freakonomics blog, but nothing has seemed to blunt the allegations that Dubner and Levitt wrote the chapter from a contrarian perspective without understanding even the fundamental principles of climate science, and as a result, what they’ve written is garbage.
Much of the writing back and forth has been quite heated, and being a student of mathematics I am averse to conflict. However, one response resonated with me a great deal, and as a case study of the arguments that can be made using only simple calculations, it’s quite effective. The response in question comes . . . → Read More: Debating Superfreakonomics