[[ Check out my Wordpress blog Context/Earth for environmental and energy topics tied together in a semantic web framework ]]

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Reverse Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer and The Amazing Kretin

Education, Fire BAD!
BoBo says the problem with Deocrats is that they are educated.

I'm just a simple engineer. I fell in some ice and later got thawed out by some of your cavemen. Your world frightens me! I am used to seeing a leader show intelligence and thoughtfulness. When I listen to BushMaster, I think: has his mind been transplanted? My genetically evolved mind cannot grasp his primitivity. His inarticulation confuses me. All utterances from the BushMaster must be carefully parsed and reconstructed to obtain their true meaning. How can this happen?

AlterMan, another simple yet educated man, has discovered BushMaster's tribal punditocracy that write collective screeds of no statistical value. The leader of your pundits is referred to as BoBo, and he triumphantly exalts apparently random cave dwellers to accurately represent BoBo's world.

However, BoBo finds himself as much confused about us as I have become pondering over him :

In 1980, at a time when about 15 percent of the electorate had a college degree, roughly 80 percent of the members of the Sierra Club and Naral were college graduates.
The biggest groups of donors to the Dean and Kerry campaigns were employees of the University of California, Harvard, Stanford, Time Warner, Microsoft and so on.

As for myself, a simple engineer, I ask: how can my world produce logical beings that can possibly compete with cavemen -- cavemen blessed with the pedigree of what the super-pundits call Intelligent Design. Fortunately, the Intelligently Designed creatures have never been reported to utter something as logically consistent as this:
My guess is the MIT electrical engineering department could have had the energy system running in Iraq by now. -- Noam Chomsky

Instead, your frightening world produces the opposite :

And it's essentially a matter of physics. It isn't a matter of money. It isn't a matter on the part of the Army of desire. It's a matter of production and capability of doing it. -- Don Rumsfeld

Our world produces comedy "skits" that have mysteriously replicated your world to a T. Sometimes to a Mr.T. This also frightens me, as stupidity on this scale should be statistically insignificant in our world.
DonRum: And if you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up. .
BillySolHurok: Blows up real good.
BigJimMcBob: Yup.

Your world does have entertainment, with unusually serious undertones, produced once again by your Intelligent Design process. Much like monkeys flying out of butts, this both frightens and disturbs me.
(Michael) Crichton believes in spoon-bending through the mind.
So, you have your AmazingKretin, while we get by with our AmazingRandi to understand how the BoBo, and, to a lesser degree, children can get fooled by such antics. For more nuanced explanations, we go to TimLambert and his simple explanation of graphs.

Serious scientific journalists in my world ask the question:
Do some conservatives simply have different literary sensibilities than the rest of us?
Being a simple engineer, the latest phenotypical classification of these archetypes as "conservatives" lays outside my range of expertise. However I take this to mean that these people remain illiterate, notwithstanding pleading cries to the contrary (e.g. "Footnotes are real.").

Serious bloggers in my world try to gain a deeper meaning:

Which is not an unreasonable reaction, but it's based on the disturbing -- and conservative -- notion that most people are so deeply stupid, or at least so uninterested in the world, that they can only be reached in the dishonest and patronizing ways conservatives have been reaching them.
Anything that encourages irrationality makes conservatism stronger.

Faced with the triple-threat of illiteracy, innumeracy, and irrationality, and having to live together in this strange new world, we must nevertheless work to solve long-term deficiencies in our shared space.

For example, I do not fear the concept of funding Social Security. Irrationality over numbers often leads to innumeracy. The fact that numbers can "increase" or "decrease", should not raise suspicions of an "evil takeover from radical elements". In fact, we can use the values of numbers (i.e. quantity) as input to feedback control systems to basically steer our society on a steady course.

The educated Atrios (together with KrugMan, the patron saints of basic "1+1=2" economics in my world) points out that pundit innumeracy may not be solved in our lifetime. This based on his tireless, yet largely hopeless efforts, to educate Nantucket dwellers in simple math (via integrating actuarial probability distributions).

I hate to think of riots that will ensue over BushMaster and the BoBo followers if they ever attain basic collective math skills. If 75% Social Security payout in the year 2042 means bankruptcy under the normal BoBo-style numeracy, what gnashing of teeth will a hypothetical 75% oil availability in the year 2009 cause (assuming our modern medicine can miraculously correct the imbalance of bodily humors from the typical BoBo)?

Or perhaps, a little bloodletting and some boar's vomit, and they'll be fine.


Post a Comment

<< Home

"Like strange bulldogs sniffing each other's butts, you could sense wariness from both sides"