Thursday, September 01, 2011
Tuesday, I noted that, in a more rational culture, superstitions -- such as the fear, endemic and unique to South Korea, that sleeping in a room with a running electric fan can be a fatal proposition -- would quickly die out:
In particular, anyone with the habit of relating one item of knowledge to another would quickly reject any of the "explanations," if he somehow ended up considering them seriously at all, regardless of his level of scientific training.Today, I ran across a column about "green" technology that busts a few myths about electric cars. Among the myths, Margaret Wente addresses a couple I can only attribute to magical thinking about the origins of electricity:
Here's another catch: Electric cars aren't necessarily green at all. Electric vehicles require large amounts of electricity -- so much that Toronto Hydro chief Anthony Haines says he doesn't know how he'd get it. "If you connect about 10 per cent of the homes on any given street with an electric car, the electricity system fails," he said recently.All true, but it strikes me as incredible that anyone is having to say this at all and, now that Wente mentions it, it positively blows my mind that so much development of this blatantly questionable technology is going on. Electric cars use electricity, and electricity has to come from somewhere.
And if the extra electricity isn't generated by renewable energy, then overall carbon dioxide emissions will go up, not down, Prof. Smil says. "The only way electric cars could reduce global carbon emissions would be if all the additional electricity needed to power them came from carbon-free energies." He also makes the essential point that the world's energy infrastructure is based on fossil fuels. ...
Philosophical ideas have consequences. Neither the collectivism that justifies the government interventions behind electric car development nor the altruism that says we must sacrifice prosperity to nature have rational justifications. Is it any wonder that when we keep tossing reason out at the ballot box, we wake up one day to find our society making mistakes schoolchildren could have anticipated decades ago, and on a massive scale at that?