PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, often considered one of the most influential people in Silicon Valley, said Tuesday that he is skeptical of man-made global warming because many refuse to allow debate the subject.
"Whenever you can't have a debate, I often think that's evidence that there's a problem," Thiel said on The Glenn Beck Program. "When people use the word 'science,' it's often a tell, like in poker, that you're bluffing. It's like we have 'social science' and we have 'political science,' [but] we don't call it 'physical science' or 'chemical science.' We just call them physics and chemistry because we know they're right."
Thiel said no one will be upset if you ask questions about the periodic table, because it is actually science. But referring to man-made climate change as "science" tells you "that people are exaggerating and they're bluffing a little bit," Thiel said.
"The weather has not been getting warmer for the last 15 years. The hockey stick that Al Gore predicted in the early 2000s on the climate has not happened," he remarked. "And I think as this monolithic culture breaks down, you can have more debates."
Thiel, the first outside investor in Facebook and a self-described Libertarian, said he favors free market economics but is liberal on most social issues.
"I believe, basically, that individual freedom is very important," he said.
Thiel said there are countless instances where excessive government intervention and regulation stifled growth or led to economic bubbles.
Technology has been "very lightly regulated" in recent decades, and the world has seen extraordinary advances in the field, he said. But almost every other industry has been heavily regulated, and as a result, has seen very little growth.
"If you're trying to develop a new drug, that costs you a billion dollars to get through the FDA," Thiel remarked. "If you want to start a software company, you can get started with maybe $100,000."
Thiel said America "could be curing cancer," but because the government has made the cost of developing medicine so high, people are dedicating their time and energy to the tech industry instead.
Beck and Thiel also discussed the similarities and differences between Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.
Thiel said most innovators in Silicon Valley have libertarian instincts, "but the politics end up being liberal because that's what's cool."
"For us, politics is about ideas," he said. "It's about changing things. But there's also this other mode where politics is about fashion, and that's always the risk you have in Silicon Valley. That's why Hollywood's so liberal. It's not that the people have thought things through in Hollywood."
Thiel said the political system will be changed from the outside, as will many of America's other issues.
He specifically referenced the skyrocketing cost of education, and how many students are not learning enough to justify hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Many have focused their energy on replacing poor professors, but Thiel believes there is going to be a "reformation" the way there was in the Catholic church hundreds of years ago.
"It's very hard for us to see it right now, because we can't imagine anything different," he remarked. "We believe you will only be 'saved' if you go to college. ... When you're scared of the future, you often retrench, and that gets taken advantage of. That's why the millennials are graduating with a trillion dollars of debt now."
Thiel said he doesn't believe there will be a "single alternative system," but the current system will undeniably change.
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