Saturday, 17 December 2011

Quirks of insanity

We run into difficulties when people say things of such mind-boggling stupidity that we almost wonder at their sanity. Why does he/she say such things? It's nonsense.  

I’m not speaking of specific slogans here, but conceptual frameworks which may just about make sense internally, but which are obviously in wild conflict with other, more rational frameworks. Examples are not difficult to find, so let’s start with electric cars.

If we drive electric cars it will alter the weather. This isn’t how the climate change message is spelled out of course, but climate alarm requires this absurd assertion to be valid. Expressed this way it seems like the most ridiculous hyperbole, but this really is a climate claim. Arguments derived from a dubious conceptual framework have to phrased in such a way as to minimise their absurdity and thereby protect the framework. Yet real life may well be quite normal outside the framework – after all, people aren't actually buying electric cars.

Using energy-saving light bulbs will slow down sea-level rises. Again, the howling absurdity of trying to stop sea-level rises by changing your light bulbs isn’t how the climate case is presented even though the conceptual framework of climate alarm requires it to happen.

If we leave the EU we’ll be isolated. This one is so ludicrous it doesn’t actually make sense and is presumably said purely for effect. There is after all, a whole world out there beyond Europe. However, within the conceptual framework of the EU project, the rest of the world doesn’t count so a crazy argument emerges from a crazy conceptual framework.

So why do we stick with conceptual frameworks which lead us into such absurd statements? Is it possible to have little quirks of insanity in an otherwise normal mind?

Unfortunately the answer seems to be yes.


Sam Vega said...

I suppose the key thing is to isolate ideas from their conceptual frameworks, and be able to take a critical stance towards all. Thus, I won't buy an electric car because the old VW is still bashing on nicely, and where the hell would I recharge an elctric car; Using energy saving bulbs is good, because it saves energy I would have to pay for;, and If we leave the EU we will indeed be isolated in some respects, most of them to be welcomed.

A K Haart said...

SV - yes you can use the ideas without the baggage and that seems to be what many do.

Moggsy said...

Peoples thinking, ordinary normal peoples’ is not always following on a straight railway track, there are little jumps to fit with preconceptions and prejudices. People find themselves on some other track without realising why or really thinking about it.

A K Haart said...

Moggsy - "People find themselves on some other track without realising why or really thinking about it."

That's a good description.