Unconditional stupidity

stupid-people_3220574I still see British nationalist fanatics insisting that Alex Salmond “lied” about the price of oil in Scotland’s Future. Now, it’s more than three years since that document was published by the Scottish Government, and nearly two and a half years since the first independence referendum. You might have thought the British nationalists would have moved on by now. I mean, it was obviously very upsetting for them to win that referendum on behalf of the ruling elites of the British state and then watch as the SNP took all the prizes and the Yes movement stubbornly declined to evaporate as they’d expected. But we’re now preparing for an entirely new referendum in the light of dramatically changed circumstances. It’s a bit weird that these British nationalists are still fighting the first one.

I guess that’s just the nature of fanatics.

Sane people, however, continue to have difficulty with the British nationalist fanatics’ inability to grasp the concept of the conditional statement. It is, by their own tacit admission, completely beyond them. Utterly baffling to them. And this makes them even more dementedly angry than they usually are.

First of all, let’s be clear that the thing about the oil price in Scotland’s Future  was a conditional statement. Here’s the bit that those British nationalist fanatics have been obsessing about for so long.

Production in Scottish waters could generate approximately £48 billion in tax revenue between 2012/13 and 2017/18 based on industry estimates of production and an average cash price of approximately 113 dollars per barrel.

Perhaps it’s the absence of the word “if” that is disconcerting those British nationalist fanatics. Although sane people will immediately pick up the clue in the qualifier “could”, your average British nationalist fanatic could be too intent on finding what they want to find to appreciate what is is actually written. Which means that they were if they were. It is not an assertion that they were. It is a suggestion that they might have been if they were. It is, if you like, a conditional statement in which the condition is that the statement is true.

Let’s try a simplified example. Suppose I make the following statement.

If, on a given date, Jack buys 10 gizmos and if they are priced at £10 each; and if those gizmos are taxed at 15%, then the tax revenues from his purchase will be £15.

That date arrives. But Jack buys only 5 gizmos, and the price has fallen to £2; and the tax has been reduced to 10%. So the tax revenue from the transaction is £1.

The sane person looks at this and says… well… not very much. Because there is nothing remarkable about this at all. It’s just arithmetic. They might wonder about the dramatic fall in the price. But they’re aware that the price of gizmos is notoriously volatile. So that won’t be seen as anything out of the ordinary. They might be surprised at the tax being reduced. But they know the British Chancellor of the British Exchequer is a British buffoon. So they’ll hardly be shocked by some random fiddling with tax rates.

The British nationalist fanatic, by contrast, throws a three year tantrum hysterically insisting that original statement must be a lie – because it says there will be £15 in tax revenues and there’s only £1. The British nationalist fanatic cannot relate that tax revenue figure to the rest of the equation. They just can’t. I’m sorry if you thought I was going to explain it. I am as perplexed as you are.

Let’s look at another conditional statement.

If you vote No Scotland’s place in the EU is assured.

People vote No, and Scotland is taken out of the EU despite this and in defiance of overwhelming support for the Remain option.

This is another instance of British nationalist fanatics being incapable of linking the outcome to the condition. They cannot see why this conditional is a lie. They genuinely cannot understand that the condition being met and the outcome not being realised makes the conditional statement definitively dishonest.

British nationalist fanatics have a serious problem with conditional statements. Perhaps somebody should do a brain scan study. Maybe they could see what areas of the British nationalist fanatic’s brain light up when they’re processing a conditional statement, and compare the results with a normal brain.

My money’s on whatever bit is associated with farting.


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About Peter A Bell

Thinker. Listener. Talker. Reader. Writer. None of my attitudes are immutable. None of my conclusions are final. None of my opinions are humble.
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