liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

QotD: Competences We Didn't Have that Led to Calamity

Some of us lived in a fairly robust democracy of opinion, but lacked any democracy of ideas, let alone of policy.  Our various educational systems failed to impart the minimum knowledge which a citizen would have needed to judge coal, nuclear power and other methods of keep on the lights.  This knowledge would have entailed some competence in the following procedures: carrying out simple mathematical conversions, marshalling facts, comparatively quantifying energies, emissions and efficiencies; performing risk-benefit analyses, deducing the specific material interests of each carbon ideologue, recognizing omissions, inaccuracies and outright lies, positing and testing relationships between facts, verifying and disproving all claims, including our own--and, most crucially, deciding what we needed to know, and how to seek that information.  Some apparent phenomena would still have resisted measurement and would have remained arguable.  But the less we measured, the more conveniently we could argue--while the threat continued to become a calamity. 
--William T. Vollman in No Immediate Danger; Volume One of Carbon Ideologies, 2018, p 11.

  • When time flies

    It's been nine months since I posted here?! That tells me I'm overbusy. I generally post when I have time to reflect and no time for…

  • Interesting Times Indeed

    Being a doc and a dork too, I've been studying on COVID-19 since it first appeared. Still the magnitude of the crisis is shocking. This will be…

  • QotD: Churchill on the Creative Process

    To begin with, (your project) is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The…

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded