Tuesday, June 05, 2012

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free

Some people like really bad analogies, others like to create them.  Now some, not Eli to be sure, think that Roger Pielke Jr. must be the monarch of bad analogies.  Eli has pointed out that the analogy police have an all puns bulletin out for him.  The Honest Broker has it all (wrong) because Roger doesn't have a clue about what a broker really does.  To repeat myself (which Eli does very well), Roger's naive injection (let's be nice) of the "honest broker" into climate science policy studies has pushed discussion into a fruitless direction. As with many such things, reality shows how hollow this is.  IEHO looking at what brokers do in the real world better illuminates the issue.

Brokers do not expand the scope of choices available to clients, they narrow them. Brokers make markets. Brokers make a living by matching buyers to sellers and taking a commission (You thought they do it for free? What carrot wagon you fall off of bunny?). Ethical brokers will go out on the market seeking product suited to clients and will seek clients suited to products available to them. Ethical brokers have mutual obligations to sellers and buyers, to qualify the buyers and vet the sellers, not to sell every piece of nuclear waste to every rube with a cell phone.


But Roger, of course thinks that the Honest Broker simply hands over the 2.5 zillion results you get from Googling anything on your Iphone.  Of course, this is excellent from his point of view, because it means that knowledge and judgement are not needed.

However, you knew there was going to be one of those, didn't you bunnies, Roger is feeling the competition.  His new one is even better.  Consider, he said he considered, what the best analogy would be for real economic innovation.  What would Roger do.  Well try:

Hooters.  

If you didn't know, it is a restaurant chain that sells bad food delivered by young ladies in, well, clothes that show their, you know what.  Now Roger thinks this is really clever.  Eli on the other hand remembers the 50s guys who read Playboy for the literary value, or more to the point, the young cool with it dudes who joined the Playboy club and jangled their Playboy key chains.  If you think about it Hooters is the playboy club without the admission fee and lower prices.  The kind of place your relationship with the hooter sex might survive if she caught you having a burger there.  Maybe.  Peek, don't touch.

Now some, not Eli to be sure, would go on for hours about this, much amusement could be had, but the real problem is that this is NOT the worst analogy out there.  That honor belongs to a real Heartland Institute Expert Rael Jean Isaac’s and her “Roosters of the Apocalypse”.

Isaac, who is basically the Girl from Likud has to earn a living.  She builds Roosters of the Apocalypse around the deadly delusions of the Xhosa.  In 1856, a young girl had a vision
She claimed that the spirits had told her that the Xhosa people should destroy their crops and kill their cattle, the source of their wealth as well as food. In return the spirits would sweep the British settlers into the sea. The Xhosa would be able to replenish the granaries, and fill the kraals with more beautiful and healthier cattle. . . .

Mhlakaza repeated the prophecy to Paramount Chief Sarhili. Sarhili ordered his followers to obey the prophecy, causing the cattle-killing movement to spread to an unstoppable point. The cattle-killing frenzy affected not only the Gcaleka, Sarhili's clan, but the whole of the Xhosa nation. Historians estimate that the Gcaleka killed between 300,000 and 400,000 head of cattle.

Nongqawuse predicted that the ancestors' promise would be fulfilled on February 18, 1857, when the sun would turn red. On that day the sun rose the same colour as every other day, and the prophecy was not realised. . . .

In the aftermath of the crisis, the population of British Kaffraria dropped from 105,000 to fewer than 27,000 due to the resulting famine.
Anyone with historical vision, recognizes this as millenialism run wild.  A vision, taken seriously resulting in disaster.  In more current terms, a cargo cult
A cargo cult is a religious practice that has appeared in many traditional pre-industrial tribal societies in the wake of interaction with technologically advanced cultures. The cults focus on obtaining the material wealth (the "cargo") of the advanced culture through magic and religious rituals and practices. Cult members believe that the wealth was intended for them by their deities and ancestors.
the basis of which was well summed up by Arthur C. Clarke who pointed out that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  The irony here, is that Isaac has not a clue about science, therefore to her science is a magic, and belief in magic is optional, and may be fatal and climate scientists are delusional.  She really belongs on a Pacific Atoll.  Say for the next 50 to 100 years.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been using the cargo cult analogy for a while now to describe the anti-science movement. They love the techno toys science delivers—their cell phones, iPads, pvdrs, gps in their cars, on-line day trading, fly-by-wire airliners, viagra, etc., etc., and they venerate the hustlers that sell the most stuff to the mass market, but they dismiss as nerds the people who actually do the science and engineering that makes their toys work. They don't want to know how it works or why, they just want it to work. And they always want more of it. Sure sounds like a cargo cult to me.

Anonymous said...

"Car-go Cult"
-- by Horatio Algeranon

A Car-go cult
Is what we are:
A cult that worships
The motor car.

bill said...

I agree brokering is probably a pretty dirty game, but how precisely does the Institute of Environmental Health Officers come into it?

Hooters - in this case the company has carefully selected its labor in a precise manner intended to increase the demand for its product - what a hoot!

As for Roosters, I did wonder if anyone was going to bother to read it, but I figured it would be John M we'd hear from first. Colour me surprised that HI's first venture into publishing should turn out to be, um, a turkey.

John Mashey said...

Oh, I've owned a copy of this for a while and even read it, but shooting dead ducks (or turkeys, or whatever) can wait, given the other things to do.
It rates 3.5 of 5 on Amazon.

I am sad that HI canceled the Roosters polybags, I wanted one those.

Martin Vermeer said...

> I am sad that HI canceled the Roosters polybags, I wanted one those.

A t-shirt would be irresistable

Anonymous said...

" The irony here, is that Isaac has not a clue about science, therefore to her science is a magic, and belief in magic is optional"

You have hit a very big nail squarely on the head there, Eli.

It's not just Isaac, but a multitude, who fall for the same fallacy. Somewhat similar to the "If you I can't understand it, you can't prove it" problem.

susan said...

Infamously, Reagan is said to have said, roughly

"If you've seen one tree, you've seen 'em all"

and on science and technology report:
"I have read it and I did not understand it."

Unfortunately, the latter is now an acceptable excuse to ignore it. And nowadays they don't even try to read it, just replicate a few predigested barbs and leave it at that.
--
Cargo cult is "owned" by the denialati who claim it perfectly describes climate science. I get in a tangle on this, having enjoyed a year's sociability with a group that included Feynman and therefore knowing he had liberal tendencies and no sufferance whatsoever for foolishness - except being normal when it came to enjoying slumming and women. It makes me a perfect victim for needling and the game of liar liar, which is easy to play when the subject is no longer able to speak for himself (a group that also includes Galileo and Einstein).

susan said...

by the way, glorious collections of analogies ... good entertainment in a world dominated by dangerous ignorance.

Brian said...

I think the reason why I find Spencer's posts less annoying than RPJr's is that Spencer's a much better writer.

I tried to read that post that Eli links to, and just gave up. I got far enough to sense another book on the way, though.

Anonymous said...

"If you've seen one tree, you've seen 'em all"

In other words "If you've seen one of my brain cells, you've seen 'em all."

~@:>

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Young Roger rabbit sure is disingenuous and grossly overvalues his misguided insight.

Thank you wise old Eli for, yet again, setting the horribly misguided young Roger rabbit straight. But like most young rabbits he is unlikely to take your sage advice seriously.

Oh the silly games you play Roger Pielke Jnr, history will not be kind to you or your father.

Albatross

EliRabett said...

The moral regard of the future, especially that of one's children and their children, are perhaps the strongest drivers away from careless, or selfish action. People, individually and collectively, have made sacrifices to benefit their families and country in the far future. Governments are much more likely to act for the benefit of those genetically or culturally proximate than for the spatially distant, to use the words of Malcolm Bull reviewing Stephen Gardiner's A Perfect Moral Storm. Indeed, it is the triumph of the nation state, that it expands the willingness to sacrifice for those who are really quite distant and unrelated.

Thus the power that asking what the regard of the future will be for those who make bad choices in the present, and the resentment of those appealed to or criticized for their actions. Such questions are not threats to family or person, but they are appeals to the future which we will not encounter, but which we, willy nilly form for our world. Bull has an interesting take on this
----------------------------
. . .climate change does not tempt us to be less moral than we might otherwise be; it invites us to be more moral than we could ever have imagined. . . .Climate ethics is not morality applied but morality discovered, a new chapter in the moral education of mankind. It may tell us things we do not wish to know (about democracy, perhaps), but the future development of humanity may depend on what, if anything, it can teach us.
----------------------------

Above Albatross explored this in a way which could be mis-interpreted were one so minded, and the bunnies are all familiar with how easily some can be so minded. The bird wrote "Oh the silly games you play Roger Pielke Jnr, history will not be kind to you or your father."

History only records, it does not physically threaten, hurt, harm or injure. Albatross is trying to shame the Pielkes by appealing to how they will be thought of by others in the future. Of course, everyone on both sides does this, including the Pilekes. If convinced of what they are advocating the reply was, well, I will take my chances with the future.

Eli has a suspicion this will blow up and just wanted to get something in

John Mashey said...

Say what you like about Ms Isaac, but she got a half-page Opinion slot in Wall Street Journal print edition, with primo placement, and online here.

The little bio in the print edition features Roosters and its publisher, Heartland. See what a billboard can do for you!

Anonymous said...

Well color me stoopid, that is they call me "Hey Stoopid".

“Everyone lies: it’s just a question of how, when and why. From the relationship saving “yes, you do look thin in those pants” to the improbable “your table will be ready in 5 minutes”, manipulating the truth is part of the human condition. Accept it now.”


Hmmm, if we take Germany, which currently generates 20% of its electricity supply, from renewable sources. Approximately fifty percent of these green no carbon footprint, while operating power sources, are owned directly by the people and not the rich corporate oligarchs(who have handsome government subsidies for their aging Nuclear Power Plants) who own the balance of the carbon polluting sources.

If we take for example, the little town of Wildpoldsried, in Southern Bavaria. The very conservative little town, that could and did since 1999. The peoples self owned clean energy facility, is well known for generating 321% more electricity, than it consumes. In doing so, generates, a cash flow, that benefits the entire community, of all 2500 residents, in diverse ways, whilst simultaneously allowing the locals to clean up their own local environmental issues.

To the average American, brainwashed by the "Chicago School Austrian Capitalism Syndrome", that fact alone, would appear to be truly evil socialism/communism.

Rael Jean Isaac, on the other hand is paid to eschew the total nonsense of "Austrian School Econometrics"(aka as pure horse hockey or BS).

And yes, after reading samples of "Rael Jean Isaac", other writings or diatribes of complete nonsense("American Stinker"), most of which are devoid of reality. It is easy to see, she suffers from a selective paranoid delusional view about the way of world. For her, these outrageous lies are entirely consistent with her corrupted mononeuron fuzzy logic view of the world.

Such is life.

Anonymous said...

History Won't Remember

-- by Horatio Algeranon

History won't remember the names
Of those who play the silly games.

The latter will be soon forgotten
No matter if the're good or rotten.

History has no hysteresis
For those who proffer petty pieces.

bill said...

It may tell us things we do not wish to know (about democracy, perhaps)...

Nice quote - and I completely agree. Whether we'll collectively rise to the challenge remains to be seen. One hopes so, but in the circumstances 'hope' is the operative word - all rather along the lines of Gramsci's 'pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will'. If everything worked the way it should we'd hardly need to be having this discussion so many years down the track...

On the whole I'm with Churchill on Democracy - it's the worst system we have, apart from all the others...