Oct 29, 2009

In the absence of data, you theorise. In an abundance, you just need to do the maths. And, because of all those super-efficient search engines, we share more and more data. Data dissolves ideology.

Two further books exemplify this: David MacKay’s Sustainable Energy—Without the Hot Air and Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Discipline are rigorous responses to the challenge of climate change. Both work from data rather than theory, and offer systems of management rather than ideologies. Both are number-rich and theory-light, and urge action—now. In MacKay’s words: “We have to stop saying ‘No’ and start saying ‘Yes’.” In Brand’s: “We are as gods and have to get good at it.” Brian Eno on Prospect, 29th October 2009


Some years ago...

Reality-based community is a popular term among liberal political commentators in the United States. In the fall of 2004, the phrase "proud member of the reality-based community" was first used to suggest the commentator's opinions are based more on observation than on faith, assumption, or ideology. The term has been defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from judicious study of discernible reality." Some commentators have gone as far as to suggest that there is an overarching conflict in society between the reality-based community and the "faith-based community" as a whole. It can be seen as an example of political framing.

The source of the term is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush:

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."[1] [Wikipedia]

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