Friday, 31 October 2014

Dolt or liar?

Humans select. We have to select whenever we choose to focus on A rather than B or C or D or...
We select...
and in selecting we omit...
and in omitting we lie by omission...
because we must select...

If the intent behind the omission is good, then we forgive the partial truth of keeping the focus on A and by implication we forgive lying by omission. We don’t even think of it as lying, but in an important sense it is. It is far too common to relax our guard and call it something else.

Take a gander at this video from a few days ago (h/t Bishop Hill) where Andrew Neil nails Elizabeth Truss to the wall. She is Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and needs to lie by omission to avoid mentioning the lack of global warming in an open and explicit context.

Neil’s key point, that the lack of global warming is significant, is not particularly contentious on either side of the climate debate. Unfortunately Ms Truss has a climate policy to support and Neil keeps on pointing out the elephant in the room.

Is the minister a dolt, a liar, both or something else? My inclination is to dismiss her as a liar and a grossly over-promoted dolt, but maybe that’s not entirely fair. We have a culture of lying because lying by omission is built into our need to focus. We all do it. I do it and so do you because we must focus and to focus is to exclude.

Yet it is still lying unless the focus can be taken as read or is otherwise made explicit. Ms Truss doesn’t want it to be explicit, so we are left with deliberate lying. Or she is a merely a dolt. Or both.


Michael said...

Unfortunately, we have to assume that politicians have built-in lying capabilities.

The nature of their body language, and the inferences that they are more knowledgeable than the people they are expected to represent are so easily exposed, that it is small wonder that most people of their kind, from 'senior' statesmen down to the lowly parish councillor, are despised.

graham wood said...

" My inclination is to dismiss her as a liar and a grossly over-promoted dolt"

I agree, she manifested both. But she was also deliberately devious in refusing to answer a direct question. How many times did AN have to say in reply to her responses: "I understand that, but that is not the question I asked......."

So she continued to lie by omission and would NOT concede that 'warming' has not increased globally over the past 18 years. She and her warmist colleagues are dolts because they fanatically follow an ideology which in turn is part of their party line which is based on pseudo science.
Ministers like Truss forget that large numbers of the public are far better informed about real facts in all sorts of areas than they are - thanks to an abundance of up to date and eclectic opinion and information on the internet. The general public therefore who want to know the truth about 'warming' know very well that the AGW alarmists represent the greatest scam operating in the world today - largely through political and vested interests.
That interview revealed the liar and the hypocrisy, and the electorate, who see this pattern repeated in many an interview with politicians, draw the right conclusion - i.e. axe to grind, lying, refusing to answer the question, something to hide & etc, and decide to drive another nail into the collective coffin of the three main parties in Westminster.

graham wood said...

AKH I know this is slightly off topic but it illustrates again my point that many politicians are captive to one or another prevailing ideology.

I am in contention with the Dept. of Education about the theory of evolution being taught in school science lessons.
Of course, this has been the case for years, but usually teachers were not pressurised into opting for one view - but held to the possibility of other views, namely the possibility of creation by God - the traditional Christian view, the one I take.

This has now changed and the D of E is strongly suggesting that evolution must now be taught as factual. I have sought confirmation for this change of policy which has massive implications, but despite several e mails and letters cannot get a clear, straight answer on this.

Another instance of an ideology getting in the way of open enquiry and truth.
Whatever one's particular view, my objection is that a dogmatic evolutionary approach especially in the subject of science is not education, but rather indoctrination of a particularly dangerous kind.
The D of E know that to dogmatically assert this is to open a big can of worms about the issue of 'origins', about the validity of teaching this as "science", (it is after all another 'world-view and strictly cannot be validated by scientific evidence and proof) - and raising questions of philosophical and religious nature which they would rather avoid.
That is why thus far they will NOT answer my question - is evolution to be taught as FACT, or does it remain a theory?
I am watching this space!

Demetrius said...

My blog today is germane to the question, arising from the link to Dominic Cummings. I use the word nitwits.

James Higham said...

Is the minister a dolt, a liar, both or something else?

You know my opinion of a certain type - best I don't say anything but you've nailed it.

A K Haart said...

Michael - it seems to be a problem with ego. Big ones rise to the top instead of merit.

Graham - as an atheist I think it is pointless to teach young kids anything other than simple evolutionary ideas.

If they are also to be given an opportunity to find God and/or some kind of personal philosophy, then I don’t see evolution as a good debating ground. It has to be wider and more philosophical than that.

My main concern is that we don't throw out the spiritual baby with the doctrinal bathwater.

Demetrius - I'll check it out.

James - I do know your opinion! How someone like that gets to be a minister...