The New Stupid: Warmist Prof. Demands “Ignorance-Based Worldview”

One of the problems with this global warming nonsense we’re having to endure is that it’s making parody redundant. Its acolytes are so hysterical and yet so pompous in their pronouncements, that they are leaving no room for satire. They have already deconstructed and humiliated themselves before anyone else gets a chance to do so. No fair!

Case in point: well known Green campaigner Robert Jensen is arguing on Counterpunch that we adopt an “ignorance-based worldview” which would adopt an actively suspicious mood towards new technologies and developments because of the potential for damage.

Jensen is a Professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. He is well-known in Green circles for his activism on AGW and other ‘progressive’ agendas. He is perhaps more widely known for his article just after 9/11 in which he claimed the attacks were “no more despicable than the massive acts of terrorism — the deliberate killing of civilians for political purposes — that the U.S. government has committed during my lifetime”.

In his essay the Professor, a radical Christian, grasps the handle of the burning sword, and seeks to save us from the path of attempting to usurp the knowledge of the gods. It’s not easy to briefly delineate his position, because it’s inherently didactic and revelatory, and therefore deeply illogical, but take the following extract:

Our experience with unintended consequences is fairly extensive. For example, there’s the case of automobiles and the burning of petroleum in internal-combustion engines, which give us the ability to travel considerable distances with a fair amount of individual autonomy. This technology also has given us traffic jams and road rage, strip malls and smog, while contributing to climate destabilization that threatens the ability of the ecosphere to sustain human life as we know it. We haven’t quite figured out how to cope with these problems, and in retrospect it might have been wise to go slower in the development of a system geared toward private, individual transportation based on the car, with more attention to potential consequences.

Counterpunch. Technological Determinism.

Jensen makes the decidedly curious statement that:

An anti-fundamentalist position is not that all technology is bad, but that the introduction of new technology should be evaluated carefully on the basis of its effects—predictable and unpredictable

Do you see the problem here? How the hell can we evaluate the “unpredictable” effects of a new technology? If they’re unpredictable, then they’re not capable of being evaluated, are they? It’s analogous to demanding that parents evaluate the decision to have a baby based on the possibilities of what he or she might do when they grow up.

The Professor’s example of the car is also instructive for what it reveals about the schemata of how he see technology. Looking back at the history of the automobile, he says that although it gave people mobility it also gave us “traffic jams and road rage, strip malls and smog”. Yes, and ambulances and fire engines, and the ability to transport food so that localized disasters don’t spell death and famine as they used to, and still do in those parts of the world where infrastructure has not yet been fully developed.

You can see the sheer illogicality of this position by using logic in its barest sense and applying reductio ad absurdam – reduction to the absurd. Imagine if the argument had been made and won thousands of years ago when fire was invented. Aren’t there possible dangers to the use of fire? Can’t people get burned and nature damaged by it? Shouldn’t we stop and consider the possible consequences of this new “fire” technology?

Jensen says that technology is the most dangerous form of fundamentalism, far more dangerous than religious fundamentalism:

Religious, national, and market fundamentalisms are frightening, but they may turn out to be less dangerous than our society’s technological fundamentalism . . .

The technological fundamentalism that animates these delusional plans makes it clear why Wes Jackson’s call for an ignorance-based worldview is so important. If we were to step back and confront honestly the technologies we have unleashed—out of that hubris, believing our knowledge is adequate to control the consequences of our science and technology—I doubt any of us would ever get a good night’s sleep. We humans have been overdriving our intellectual headlights for thousands of years, most dramatically in the twentieth century when we ventured with reckless abandon into two places where we had no business going—the atom and the cell.

As a Christian, the Professor should be ashamed of his comments: rather than casting stones at the evils of technology, he should be demanding more of it, for more people. It’s easy to bemoan the side-effects of technology when you have access to dentistry, anesthetic, clean water, fresh food and all the other things it provides. It’s another matter entirely when you’re sick and the nearest hospital is four days walk away through the bush, scenic as it might be.

No doubt the Professor sees it differently. He would, I am sure, protest that the effects of technology lead to famine, drought, and all the bad things that never existed before people had cars. I would say, he is free to renounce new technologies if he wants, but kindly leave the rest of us who disagree with him free to accept them as we choose.

 

 

22 responses to “The New Stupid: Warmist Prof. Demands “Ignorance-Based Worldview”

  1. As you say, it’s tough when they snark themselves.
    But “ignorance-based”? I thought we were already there with those fools moving the fish.

  2. Jensen: “Whatever did technology ever do for us? It’s nothing but bad!”
    The rest of the world: “Well, it gave one pompous windbag a nice education and a cushy job where he could complain about technology and everything about it that he thinks is evil, for starters.”

  3. It makes you wonder how someone with such poor logic gets to be a professor.

  4. How exactly are we going to assess the pros and cons of new technology? By using the razor like insights of ignorance?

    Oh and what JMW said.

  5. I suggest the good Prof ditches his computer, phone and internet connection as an example to us all.

  6. hauntingthelibrary said: “Case in point: well known Green campaigner Robert Jensen is arguing on Counterpunch that we adopt an “ignorance-based worldview” which would adopt an actively suspicious mood towards new technologies and developments because of the potential for damage.

    We used to call these people Luddites. They had a vested interest then. They have a vested interest now. Jensen would like to see technology advances be planned by technocrats and introduced once thoroughly investigated by State backed authorities.(They would be the only ones capable of perpetrating Jensen’s plan) I wonder if he sees himself sitting on the committee deciding what we may have and what we may not. He places undue faith in the State being benign and grants it unwarranted control over our lives. He has placed State on a par with God.

    Jensen said: “This technology also has given us traffic jams and road rage, strip malls and smog, while contributing to climate destabilization that threatens the ability of the ecosphere to sustain human life as we know it.

    Climate destabilisation! How can you discern stability from a naturally variable and chaotic system? The only possible way would be for things to suddenly become boring?

    The communist climate caravan seems to attract the most perversely pessimistic people on the planet.

  7. “Our experience with unintended consequences is fairly extensive. For example, there’s the case of automobiles and the burning of petroleum in internal-combustion engines….”

    So now lets grow crops for fuel instead of food, shut down gas powered plants, geoengineer to ‘cool’ the planet.

    This f’ing hypocrites make me sick. The enjoy all the benefits of modern life and want to deny this to people in Lesotho, Cambodia, Haiti etc. At least he is enjoying the modern computer in order to publish his crap on the net.

    Now what do we have here from his home page at the university?:

    BOOK: Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity from South End Press.

    DOCUMENTARY: “The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality, and Relationships,”
    http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/index.html

    Much of his work has focused on pornography and the radical feminist critique of sexuality and men’s violence, and he also has addressed questions of race through a critique of white privilege and institutionalized racism.
    http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/bio.html

    • I haven’t read his books, so it would be a little unfair of me to criticize them unduly, but from the titles alone, it seems as though Professor Jensen is angry at the society he lives in, and as he is clearly extraordinarily privileged (a relatively high-earning middle class White male in the richest country in the world) he can’t really complain about his position, as he has clearly done very well from it.

      Therefore, he presumes to speak “for others”. It’s a roundabout way of claiming privilege for himself, IMHO, a bit like Orwell’s diagnosis of Tolstoy in his essay “Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool”.

  8. Fortunately, the professor is only hypothesising. Off the top of my head, I cannot think of one thing that has been ‘uninvented’ or ‘disinvented’.

    You can’t unring the bell. Let him rant. Happily, he’s far too late!

  9. At least we will have all the computing power we’d like – obviously that technology is benign, as it is essential for the running of climate models.

  10. And fire and the wheel.

    If only Mankind had been more cautious about the un-predictability of these new technologies…

    … we could all still be cowering at the back of the cave, chewing bones and fretfully listening to wild animals howl in the night.

    Strewth!

  11. ‘We used to call these people Luddites’ says Barry, above. Now we call them pillocks.

    (Note: I very rarely resort to even mildly abusive language in blog comments, but the stuff that HtL has been unearthing recently is starting to get to me. Hence ‘pillocks’ rather than ‘profoundly misguided’).

  12. And as Philip Bratby rightly asks, how on earth did this man make full professor? Really. How?

  13. Ants.

    Ants are the smart ones.

    Developed a social structure and some engineering skilss and realised they had all they needed to extreme longevity of species and adaptability, over all, to changes that other species may throw at them. Cockroaches seem to share some survivalist traits as well.

    They will, no doubt, be around long after humans are gone and forgotten – chosen ones. Ants will inherit the earth. Obviously they feel OK about sitting back waiting for the rest of us to finish playing with the biosphere, in which case, if they are OK with it and prepared to tolerate us whilst we are around, why would any of us need to worry too much?

  14. Perhaps he could start closer to home, and look at the damage that journalists have caused through the years? Now we have the internet he should conclude that his opinions are just a waste of internet space and withdraw.

  15. Jensen is quoted as follows:
    “If we were to step back and confront honestly the technologies we have unleashed—out of that hubris, believing our knowledge is adequate to control the consequences of our science and technology—I doubt any of us would ever get a good night’s sleep.”

    Well, goodness, yes. I have learned from my college students that etiquette among people who text one another requires a near immediate response. Some of my students tell me that if the boyfriend texts at 2:00 AM then a near immediate response is expected and failure to respond quickly must be explained. Clearly, this technology has murdered sleep and made our young people unfit to drive an automobile. Down with the tyranny of text messaging.

  16. If we hadn’t invented the internal combustion engine we’d all have been buried by several yards of horse sh*t.

    See ‘The Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894’ at http://www.thefreemanonline.org.

    ‘Writing in the Times of London in 1894, one writer estimated that in 50 years every street in London would be buried under nine feet of manure.’

  17. Professor Jensen is right about one thing — in technology, the human race has a tiger by the tail. The consequences of letting go, as the good Prof recommends, would be rather serious — the death of 90% of the human race and the descent of the survivors into the prehistoric pattern of short lives of drudgery, fear, and pain. No doubt the Professor has thoroughly analyzed the “predictable and unpredictable” consequences of this act — perhaps he has even volunteered to be one of the 90% who have to go — I’ll just have to read his dross more carefully, perhaps.

    Of course the actual consequences of human technologies have been the tremendous gains in quality and length of life that we have seen in the last 200 years — truly regrettable, tsk, tsk. Whatever were we thinking? Why would anyone wish this to continue?

    I’m certain of it now — academia selects for idiocy.

  18. Pingback: Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Feb. 3rd 2011 « The Daily Bayonet

  19. Pingback: Global Warming Hoax Weekly Roundup for Feb 3 | Rightlinks Blog – Greece: Setting the standard for Democrats everywhere

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