Kenneth Brower's piece about Freeman Dyson in The Atlantic is a thorough dissection of Dyson's brand of genius-but-crazy.
In the range of his genius, Freeman Dyson is heir to Einstein—a visionary who has reshaped thinking in fields from math to astrophysics to medicine, and who has conceived nuclear-propelled spaceships designed to transport human colonists to distant planets. And yet on the matter of global warming he is, as an outspoken skeptic, dead wrong: wrong on the facts, wrong on the science. How could someone as smart as Dyson be so dumb about the environment? The answer lies in his almost religious faith in the power of man and science to bring nature to heel. (...)What the secular faith of Dysonism offers is, first, a hypertrophied version of the technological fix, and second, the fantasy that, should the fix fail, we have someplace else to go.
Somewhere else being into space where, magically technology enabled, we will escape the mess we've made of this rock. Read the whole thing.
We've built a long thick asphalt runway in the New Mexico desert with our tax money to prove we believe in the space fantasy that we've got someplace else to go - someplace better to be.*
*Or was that what someone said to me at lunch?