"None of us is as smart as all of us"

"None of us is as smart as all of us" is a phrase used in the memes to suggest that everyone coming together to make decisions will make those decisions somehow more valid and more 'right'. It presupposes that an 'informed' democratic majority opinion would be the 'gold standard' to aim for and would deliver the best results. I don't think so. As a long established and very experienced climate science denialism debunker, I think that the results of any 'citizens assemblies', made up of genuinely randomly selcted members of the public, would be very unlikely to yield optimum decisions - which is what we need right from the start.

Expecting the value of majority views on such an all encompassing subject as climate change policy (which demands expert knowledge just to understand, let alone evaluate) to be the 'gold standard' for scoping and delineating long term, far reaching, policy decisions is using rose tinted spectacles at best. In the case of global warming policy, one needs to have both a very good knowledge of climate science, and politics and/or economics to appreciate the issues. More importantly, the phrase presupposes that the majority view, which people must know is highly vulnerable to the very sophisticated disinformation and misinformation spread by the 'sceptic'/contrarian/denialist lobby and can look extremely plausible unless one is extremely well versed in how it is deceptive, deceitful or dumb, will be invulnerable to these powerful distorting forces which are widely promulgated by very sophisticated lobbyists. The great majority of people haven't got a hope of discerning the scientific wheat from the pseudo-scientific chaff and similarly for the economic and political aspects.

Why the contribution is important

To be effective, actions and policy to tackle anthropogenic climate change need to take much longer time frames into account than is normal for policy formulation. Some required decisions are likely to not have significant beneficial effects for several decades while having some negative effects in the interim period. The majority of people are not good at planning for the ultra long term and the cycles of political periods of office do not favour this either. People are good at planning to avoid the 'tiger in the undergrowth' but not the slow erosion of arable land. I think it important that the likely prevalence of short term thinking and 'here and now' pragmatism that one will probably get from citizens' assemblies - if they can actually come to any definitive final position - needs to be at least prepared for by the executive

by NickPalmer on February 01, 2021 at 05:30PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 0.0
Based on: 0 votes


  • Posted by Jerriaisjanne February 02, 2021 at 18:57

    I agree.

    I don't think Citizens' Assemblies are a good way to create policy.

    They are not democratic and we are a democratic society. What happens if the 45 people brought in are not representative of the actual public? We could end up with 30 climate deniers and 15 normal people.

    We elect our representatives to sit in the States to make policy. Public engagement should be done on an island-wide scale - our island is small enough to do this. Parish assemblies should be properly utilised, as well as online forums such as this and discussions in schools etc.
  • Posted by pietea February 03, 2021 at 21:10

    Can we ignore this idea because they attributed a quote to a “meme” instead of Kenneth H Blanchard?

    They could of just googled it.
  • Posted by NickPalmer February 03, 2021 at 23:37

    Blanchard is a motivational speaker. His words and concepts should not be relied upon to help generate scientifically sound policies which are effective and economically valid. Indeed, I think it is the 'motivational speaker' mentality which is at the very root of the deep seated problems we have ended up with inasmuch as it encourages people to think that all they have to do is believe hard enough and they'll be able to do and have anything they want to. It's very toxic.
  • Posted by pietea February 04, 2021 at 11:27

    Yes, Blanchard is, but have you read the full quote? You might realise that you’ve completely misinterpreted it.

    I believe you might do better quoting Benjamin Franklin’s - democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for lunch. Or maybe, Sir Alec Issigonis, instead of an ill-informed meme.

    Also, I dare say you have missed the point, climate change should be an open discussion with the community, if we let just a select few continue to shape the policy we will never understand what the general public think is achievable to tackle climate change.

    Example, it’s all very well creating a policy of kerbside recycling but if no one engages with it, the policy is a failure.

    Climate change affects everyone, so let’s get everyone involved.
  • Posted by NickPalmer February 04, 2021 at 23:22

    "democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for lunch"

    Precisely. You seem to be under the impression that the 'whole community' will vote in a rational way to formulate policy that will be sufficient to do the necessary job. There's not a chance in hell that that is the case. Perhaps you may have been misled by what you think are the numbers of people that polls say are concerned about climate change? You ought to know that psychologists identify a big gap between what people say they would accept and what they actually would vote for when push comes to shove. The people who naively think that 'the people' will decide well have been sucked in by those polls and are turning blind eye to the skill and power and seeming plausibility of the denier/sceptic movement which will go into overdrive to reassure the public that there's no need for drastic actionol theopubl as soon as it looks like people may be asked to vote on it

    " we will never understand what the general public think is achievable to tackle climate change"

    Who cares? The general public is in no position to understand what is achievable or should be achieved tackle climate change. It is a job for highly knowledgeable people educated in many fields the public are in no way whatsoever expert enough to be able to come to effective decisions.
  • Posted by pietea February 05, 2021 at 11:18

    @NickPalmer; as you’re so fond of memes and miss quoting (see full Franklin quote - you’re welcome by the way) let us end this argument by agreeing with you.
  • Posted by NickPalmer February 07, 2021 at 13:40

    pietea. The (to me, obvious) point you miss is that the general public never see the 'full quote'. that memes are taken from. All they see is an isolated sentence or so often taken out of context with the whole piece they were part of. When assessing the value of memes used on social media, it is solely the conclusions that the general public will jump to from such snippets which counts and that is what my original post was about.

    I have been in the business of debunking climate science denialism for over 30 years and I am extremely experienced at it on the global stage. I communicate with some of the top scientists who investigate the psychology of denialists and the way public perceptions are distorted by the use of cherry picking, quote mining (for memes), fake experts etc. Unfortunately, activists/campaigners, even government departments, on the 'other side ' can use some of the same techniques too and there has recently been some discussion amongst top climate scientists about whether they should publicly debunk 'doomism' and 'alarmism' as well as denialism because all confuse and dilute the public's opinion of the truth. They all distort the truth for their own purposes.

    Perhaps an educated person such as yourself might like to comment on my long post entitled "The Answer"? I would appreciate some thoughtful criticism.
Log in or register to add comments and rate ideas