Bad beliefs: Misinformation is factually wrong – but is it ethically wrong, too?

Screenshot_20230218-201035 More wank - but I shouldn't spoil the plot - by Lawrence Torcello, who has form. Naively, he wonders whether people are ethically accountable for not just what they do, but what they believe – and how they consume, analyze or ignore information to arrive at their beliefs. If so, we have him bang to rights, because he continues about Plato’s “Republic,” in which Plato depicts Socrates’ endeavors to uncover the nature of justice and goodness. But this is bollox; The Republic is essentially a work of propaganda; "Socrates" is not S but P, and he does not endeavour to uncover the nature of justice, instead he presents a shamelessly biased account of Plato's tribalist ideas. TOSAIE refers, as ever, and I still haven't written it up properly. And to answer his question, yes you are accountable for what you believe, and no putting the blame on Evil Oil Companies is not an answer fit for an adult.


* Pembroke regatta, pix and vidz
* Torpids 2023: a few vidz


Phil said...

Perhaps you meant to post a link to


William M. Connolley said...

I did... thanks; fixed.

Phil said...

The evil oil companies deserve some of the blame, not all of course.

Is it more ethical to spread misinformation when you don't know the truth? Or if you do know the truth, and know what you are spreading is both incorrect and will harm others?

William M. Connolley said...

> not all of course

I think that, while technically true, is practically wrong. The EFFC's deserve some small fraction of the blame, but I'd definitely call it "small" rather than "not all".

We all agree that spreading disinfo is bad, and spreading it knowingly is worse than doing so unknowingly, so I don't see how that part is interesting.

Phil said...

So then what about you?

Converted your house heat from fossil fuel to heat pump yet?

Ditched the ICE, and driving an EV?

Induction hob?

Phil said...

Is the only ethically required action writing a few blog posts on the politically unlikely carbon tax?

William M. Connolley said...

Spreading information and opposing disinformation is valuable. At least it would be, if anyone listened. Speaking of which I recommend The Big Myth Is Full of Recycled Anti-Capitalist Cheap Shots.

Phil said...

So a few blog posts is all that's ethically required?

If you drive enough miles an EV will be cheaper to own than a comparable ICE. Total cost of ownership, including purchase price, fuel, maintenance, repairs and such. Should warm your Capitalist Heart. And consider that the EV is just nicer to drive. If it's close, consider the cost of the carbon tax you should be paying.

I've owned an EV for more than a decade. In less than another decade, most new cars will be EVs.

Leading edge or trailing edge? Still your choice.

Also heat pump and induction stove top aka (hob). Better in other ways, and lower carbon as well.

William M. Connolley said...

> If you drive enough miles

People always want to solve problems by doing things, rather than by not doing things. Instead of driving lots of miles, why not not drive so far? As for warming CHs, if the thing is cheaper and better then the evil money-grubbing capitalists will take it up and you can rest easy.

Phil said...

Hair shirts don't sell well. Doing less isn't a full answer.

"Doing nothing" sounds a lot like business as usual. BAU is a Bad Idea. Some more Bad Ideas are


It is easy to say drive fewer miles to someone that lives close to work, shopping and such. Those houses are limited, and more expensive. Lower paid people can't afford those houses. They live on the outskirts of cities, where travel is a larger fraction of costs, both time and energy needed. That's why energy use rises as a fraction of income with lower incomes, within the a given city. "Let them eat cake" was tried once. You might want to check to see how that turned out.

Electric cars are better, and cheaper for most now. Will be cheaper for a majority within the decade. To extend to everyone, charging posts in areas where people park on the street as they don't have off street parking will needed. Largely needs to be a public work, like roads, bridges and streetlamps.

Have you even tried an induction hob?

William M. Connolley said...

> "Doing nothing" sounds a lot like business as usual

BAU consists of doing lots of things. I think you've confused "doing nothing" (which, you'll notice, I didn't suggest; I suggested and suggest "doing less") with "changing nothing"; these are very different.

Phil said...

You are suggesting "doing less"; turning off lights, turning down the heat, and putting on a hair shirt to stay warm.

I am suggesting "doing the same": getting LEDs, a heat pump and doing much as you have in the past... with less energy and carbon release. Oh, and while there is upfront investment needed, the total long term cost is lower.

Tom said...

Phil, do your calculations factor in the rising cost of electricity? Or the inevitable switching of taxes from liquid fuels to either road miles traveled or electricity itself? Governments generally do not smile at the prospect of losing revenues.

Phil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil said...


(Typo correction, sorry)
Electric prices are likely to fall in real terms when compared with fossil fuels. Wind and solar are displacing fossil fuels in much of the world because of lower cost. While prices and costs are not identical, they do tend to track. Electric prices also vary more by utility district than gasoline prices.


1 gallon of gasoline=33.7 kWh

About 5 to 10 kWh replaces a gallon of gasoline in a internal combustion car, due to inefficiency of the gasoline motor.

Electric power (at home, as most of charging is at home) costs $0.145 (including taxes), which equals roughly $0.725 to $1.45 per gallon gasoline. Taxes add $0.59 to WA State gas prices, so compare with $2.04 per gallon gasoline.

AAA says $4.22 per gallon average for WA State. $3.359 nationwide.

If taxed on energy, I would add less than 2 cents to each kWh. A tax per mile removes taxes from the car buying comparison.

Example: 2022 Audi Q8 quattro hybrid vs 2022 Audi e-tron quattro


The e-tron is cheaper (MSRP) to buy than the Q8, very similar cars.

Cost per 25 miles is $1.52 for the e-tron, $5.26 for the Q8

e-tron = 36 kWh/100 mi Q8 = 5.0 gal/100mi

The electric car is just both nicer to drive, and cleaner. Lower center of gravity makes for better handling. Smooth and quiet. Oh, and you can preheat the e-tron on a cold day, in the garage or outside. Nothing beats getting into a warm car on a frosty morning. That is, when compared with scraping windows to clear the ice and snow then sitting waiting for the engine to warm up enough to keep the windshield clear.