counting towards the off

So, counting the years – but mind where all this counting can end.

My feeling is that the green movement has torpedoed itself with numbers. Its single-minded obsession with climate change, and its insistence on seeing this as an engineering challenge which must be overcome with technological solutions guided by the neutral gaze of Science, has forced it into a ghetto from which it may never escape. Most greens in the mainstream now spend their time arguing about whether they prefer windfarms to wave machines or nuclear power to carbon sequestration. They offer up remarkably confident predictions of what will happen if we do or don’t do this or that, all based on mind-numbing numbers cherry-picked from this or that ‘study’ as if the world were a giant spreadsheet which only needs to be balanced correctly.

Paul Kingsnorth [without date; 2011]: The Quants and the Poets

In other words:

It would be nice if all of the data which sociologists require could be enumerated because then we could run them through IBM machines and draw charts as the economists do. However, not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

(William Bruce Cameron, 1963: Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking – http://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/26/everything-counts-einstein/)

In any case, consider it when taking stock of 2014, and making plans for the future.

All the best for 20…, which one? Any and everyone …

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  1. […] from earlier a quote on statistics from an interesting […]



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