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Discussion > Climate, energy and imagination

First there was What happens if the lights go out? Channel 4 drama Blackout imagines a post cyber-attack Britain in The Independent, thanks TinyCO2. Looking forward to that tonight. Then I spotted The plodding music of global warming in the Telegraph's classical music section:

A scientist has turned a set of data about rising temperatures into a composition. But as music it is banal, says Ivan Hewett.

Mr Hewitt, you know I trust you on that, even before listening to it.

I say that we - and I mean all voters, not just scientists and policy makers but everyone in between - need imagination to get the answers right both on climate and energy. And I have often thought, though seldom verbalised, that the popular delusion and madness of crowds aspect of CAGW has much to do with the overactive imagination of scientists. For they are human beings like the rest of us. What if James Hansen can imagine things that he can't prove and they genuinely grip him with fear? This surely is part of what has been going on. (It's a corrective for a naive conspiracist view among other things.)

It's therefore wrong in my view to say we only need to go back to true science. We do need to do that. But we also need to fire our own and other people's imaginations in a way that will lead to a groundswell of popular opinion and thus policies that are of real benefit to this and future generations. Thoughts welcome.

Sep 9, 2013 at 3:28 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Yet another vanity thread.

Sep 9, 2013 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Bit sore about losing so badly in Real names or pseudonyms? are we TBYJ? I mean, once I showed it was only two threads out of 152 that Dung and you were making such an almighty fuss about? I can understand your frustration. But chin up, you don't have to draw attention to everything I write, it rather gives the game away. This thread is about something that genuinely fascinates me: the place of imagination, alongside science and what is meant to be evidence-based policy making. Even if nobody else wishes to contribute the Telegraph story is well worth a read.

Sep 9, 2013 at 5:19 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard you have a serious problem and are delusional.

Sep 9, 2013 at 6:31 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Megalomania is a psychopathological disorder characterized by delusional fantasies of power, relevance, or omnipotence, "Megalomania is characterized by an inflated sense of self-esteem and overestimation by persons of their powers and beliefs."
If you seriously think you’re the only person smart enough to solve the financial crisis, and you demand to be put in charge, people will think you’re a megalomaniac.
A megalomaniac is a pathological egotist, that is, someone with a psychological disorder with symptoms like delusions of grandeur and an obsession with power. We also use the word megalomaniac more informally for people who behave as if they're convinced of their absolute power and greatness

Oxford Dictionary
• a person who has an obsessive desire for power.
• a person who suffers delusions of their own power or importance.
Synonyms for megalomaniac

wrapped up in oneself

Sep 9, 2013 at 6:38 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Gosh, what a surprise!

Sep 10, 2013 at 6:50 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

What did I lose? Calling you a walter mitty character who references his own posts as proof of his delusions? I think not.

Sep 10, 2013 at 8:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

How about credibility? Because neither of you was willing to discuss the evidence on which Dung's claims rested.

Sep 10, 2013 at 8:22 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I don't wish to discuss anything with a self-promoter like you Richard. Your only intention for these posts, especially the part where you list the big names, is to attach yourself to those big names in search engines. It's a well-known SEO technique for companies and brands trying to big themselves up. You are a celebrity hunter of the worst kind, trying to stake out a small piece of fame that you seem to think you were denied in an earlier incarnation.

I meet people like you all the time in business. They attach themselves to projects in some manner, they are usually have no skills to bring, so the real people put them in some corner of the project where they can do no harm - quality assurance, project coordination, meetings chair, something like that. Later, at presentations to the board you will see them talking about how they guided this, organized that, drove forward the next thing. Taking the credit for things they contributed nothing to. They go through life thinking they are a mover and shaker, it's a personal tragedy.

I now understand your need to be seen to be the intellectual force of the rabble that is climate scepticism, the one who gathered together all the woolly threads and made a coherent case that won the day. Unfortunately for you, you will never be that person. Fame will escape you this time too.

Sep 10, 2013 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

TBYJ, it's very interesting to know more of your experience and how it has shaped your fantasies about me - and this thread is meant to be all about imagination!

As I've just said on another thread I'd be delighted to introduce you to some people who can give you a completely independent view of my own achievements or indeed otherwise. I'm not claiming much for myself in any area. But in climate you are 3000% wrong. I have none of the pretensions you have assigned to me there. Again, any face-to-face meeting would quickly disabuse you of your current illusions about my own. I think even Robin Guenier, Alex Cull and Geoff Chambers, who met me for the first time this year, could vouch for my quiet reasonableness away from the notorious hothouse that is Bishop Hill!

Sep 10, 2013 at 9:02 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Yes, Richard, you're a great guy.

Sep 10, 2013 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

So you refuse to meet and put the record straight in any way? You don't believe you can learn anything more about me than you have already from my words on this very limited medium? You would be a sad case if so. But I don't believe you really want to know. Your aims with Dung are a bit different. At least that's what all the evidence points to right now

Sep 10, 2013 at 9:19 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

What record? You are truly delusional.

Nobody cares. There is no record.

Sep 10, 2013 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Blog nihilism at its starkest. But actually there is a record. It may not be a very good one in my case but there's also one in yours, stretching back we don't quite know when. Another reason I'd be very interested to meet you.

Sep 10, 2013 at 10:01 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I know you think everything you do and say is of utmost importance to mankind, Richard, but most of us don't labour under those sorts of apprehensions. You think you're a 'name' and that people are watching and will look you up in future in search engines and say "yep, he was one of the greats". This fame-seeking of yours is tacky, but not unique.

The stark reality is that nobody cares about you, or me, or this blog ultimately. It's not nihilism, it's just realism. In the grand scheme of things, what we say in a dusty corner of a blog that caters to quite a marginal niche subject, a corner I might add that the host doesn't bother to visit, is irrelevant to the stream of human society.

There is no record to be set straight. There is no record.

You'd likely be surprised at who I am.

Sep 10, 2013 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Why bother to post here if you have such a negative view?

Sep 10, 2013 at 10:31 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Who says I have a negative view? We chat here about climate science, our words last a day or two, then vanish into the archive. At some point, the archive might become lost or deleted, or simply so lost in the strata of internet chat that it effectively becomes non-findable.

I can see why it might seem negative to a fame seeker who thinks there is some record being kept of their activities. To the rest of sane society, casual discourse is not meant to be retained, its value is gleaned at the time of its occurrence.

You must be a real hit at parties, taking notes all the time.

See a doctor.

Sep 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

The 'fame-seeker' meme seems to be your main shtick about me TBYJ and I think it's the one thing that's valuable in what you've written. In the last 24 hours an old song has come back into my mind. If I met you I could sing it to you but for now here are the words:

You laid aside your majesty
Gave up everything for me
Suffered at the hands
Of those you had created

To seek for fame from mere man and not from this amazing creator is indeed a grievous and stupid error. I have too often been guilty of it. But, in all honesty, I have not embarked on initiatives such as my recent pages on BH Discussions thinking that I would gain any fame at all, just much hatred and indeed damage to my reputation, unless the tide turns in a big way in these areas. But in this moment you have reminded me of a great treasure and comfort. If you wish to obtain a full view of my psyche and motivation don't miss that part. This also requires imagination.

Sep 10, 2013 at 10:59 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake


Sep 10, 2013 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames


I think we are wasting our time; each of these threads is like a whirlpool. Wherever a discussion starts it is inevitably sucked towards the center and down the big black hole that is RD's ego.

Sep 10, 2013 at 12:56 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Well, all blog posts are a waste of time in some respects, but baiting the Ego is always amusing.

Sep 10, 2013 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Whatever this thread might be about, who cares.

Sep 10, 2013 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBig Oil

"But we also need to fire our own and other people's imaginations in a way that will lead to a groundswell of popular opinion and thus policies that are of real benefit to this and future generations"

Perhaps sadly, no one seems to think this is a topic worthy of discussion. But then again, this is like a brain-storming session at a PR consultancy - how can we change people's perception of Persil, British beef, etc. I cannot fathom why anyone should think that this blog is the best forum for that activity. But it does show that Richad has a HEART, which is, I guess, the main point.

Sep 13, 2013 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

It's my birthday. So I am going to indulge myself. It's pointless and silly, it achieves absolutely nothing. But what the heck.

Richard, I've given you a hard time on BH in the past. And I've always felt very guilty about it, as I always do if I'm rude to someone.

I was completely unaware, until I stumbled on these discussion threads, that you wind up other people too. (Except Dung. I knew you and Dung had some sort of running battle going on.)

Richard, do you ever think about it? I mean, you seem to be very irritating to quite a few people here. Do you ever wonder why that is?

Sep 13, 2013 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans