Insights from Quadrant

The green pyre

Hobart, 1967

Physicist and friend of Quadrant John Reid has celebrated the upcoming birthday on January 21 of Francis  Bacon by reminding us of the great empiricist’s Four Idols of the Mind, those cherished myths and exalted nostrums that tint and distort the lens of perception. In the case of Tasmania, where John resides and publishes his Black Jay blog, it is the trumping of observable fact by green fancy and official policy that has stacked the kindling of an inevitable catastrophe. He writes:

… Energy policy self-harm is not the only consequence of the new environmental militancy. Other Baconian Idols are the myths of Natural Balance and the Sanctity of Wilderness which are equally pernicious….

… Bacon’s Idols have consequences. In our misguided worship of Wilderness, we Tasmanians are creating the conditions for a major disaster. A bush fire in 1967 killed over 60 people and burned 600 homes in Hobart. The time is now right for such a disaster to recur and it is likely to be worse than in 1967. Environmental concerns have lead to inadequate fire hazard reduction measures made worse by the spread of suburbia into the bush. Hobart now has over 70 km of city-bush interface.

Those leafy suburbs will become a disaster area once again, thanks to the power of Bacon’s Idols over the minds of policy makers. Their expert advisors, the university ecologists … will have much to answer for when this holocaust finally does occur.

They will, no doubt, blame climate change.

John’s post can be read in full here.

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