Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Plato's Myth of the Cave, and the Energy Collective

Plato's Myth of the Cave
Imagine a dark, subterranean prison in which humans are bound by their necks to a single place from infancy. Elaborate steps are taken by unseen forces to supply and manipulate the content of the prisoner’s visual experience. This is so effective that the prisoners do not recognize their imprisonment and are satisfied to live their lives in this way. Moreover, the cumulative effects of this imprisonment are so thorough that if freed, the prisoners would be virtually helpless. They could not stand up on their own, their eyes would be overloaded initially with sensory information, and even their minds would refuse to accept what the senses eventually presented them. It is not unreasonable to expect that some prisoners would wish to remain imprisoned even after their minds grasped the horror of their condition. But if a prisoner was dragged out and compelled to understand the relationship between the prison and outside, matters would be different. In time the prisoner would come to have genuine knowledge superior to the succession of representations that made up the whole of experience before. This freed prisoner would understand those representations as imperfect—like pale copies of the full reality now grasped in the mind. Yet if returned to the prison, the freed prisoner would be the object of ridicule, disbelief, and hostility. - Plato paraphrased by John Partridge

Nuclear Ignorance and Illiteracy in the Energy Collective
In 2007 when I began to look at the question of mitigating Anthropogenic Global Warming, I began to ask questions that were dictated by common sense. It was proposed by David Roberts of Grist for example that the energy from fossil fuels could be replaced by renewable energy. So I ask Roberts, what do you do for energy when the Sun goes down and the wind stops blowing? The wind is always blowing somewhere Roberts suggested. The Sun is always shining somewhere, he added. This might be sure, but setting up renewable generating facilities everywhere gets to be expensive. This has not stopped David Roberts, Mark Z. Jabonson, Amory Lovins, Joe Romm, and a hoard of confused, incompetent and ignorant "energy experts" whose writings appear on "The Energy Collective" from erroneously suggesting that renewables are an acceptable, lower cost alternative to nuclear power.

Some of my posts on LFTR potential have begun to appear on The Energy Collective blog. A few writers like Rod Adams and Dan Yurman are very nuclear literate, but most Energy Collective writers are simply nuclear illiterate. A few are aware of their shortcoming and do not commit the sin of presuming to write on topics about which they know nothing. It is a wise person who can recognize his or her limitation and not presume to transcend it. More than a few Energy Collective writers are prisoners of the cave, who believe that their limited and distorted knowledge of nuclear technology is everything there is worth knowing. No effort at rational persuasion can shake these ignoramuses out of their stupor.

The Energy Collective has begun carrying some of my posts on the LFTR. I wonder what the nuclear illiterates make of what I write. I suspect that they see me as incredibly simple minded and misguided. As far as I can tell, they are not the least interested in following up on what I have to say. Why learn about the incomprehensible? It is better to settle for ignorance and intellectual incompetence. Of course those who are comfortable with life in the cave, are not going to seek a way out, nor can they offer advice to others about what is real and what is not.

1 comment:

Jason Ribeiro said...

It was once said: A person cannot be reasoned with to change their position on something when they have arrived at that position without reason. In general, I think that statement is quite true, except in the case of Mark Jacobson, Romm, and Lovins, these are smart people who have arrived at a rejection of nuclear energy supposedly through reason. As CEO's and professors, they should know better. Their reasoning has been challenged often but they often choose not to engage any debate on public forums, I think because they know they will get roasted. So do we have a group of smart people with a collection of dumb ideas, or a bunch of smart people motivated by egos and money?


Blog Archive

Some neat videos

Nuclear Advocacy Webring
Ring Owner: Nuclear is Our Future Site: Nuclear is Our Future
Free Site Ring from Bravenet Free Site Ring from Bravenet Free Site Ring from Bravenet Free Site Ring from Bravenet Free Site Ring from Bravenet
Get Your Free Web Ring
Dr. Joe Bonometti speaking on thorium/LFTR technology at Georgia Tech David LeBlanc on LFTR/MSR technology Robert Hargraves on AIM High