A Morality Tale
By Bruce Barbour - August 2020
Fred owns and occupies a three storey commercial building.
Fred's company's going really well and he needs some more
space. So Fred decides to build a shed on the roof of the
building where he can store the excess office furniture and
files. This all goes well. More space for a bit of
expansion. The company continues to grow and Fred decides
that he wants to add another storey to the building to make
more office space, taking it from three storeys to four. So
he rings up his builder mate and arranges for him to have
his drafters draw up the plans and commence building. Then
another mate, Bruce, comes along and says - "Umm I think
that it is highly likely that your building cannot have an
additional storey put on it. The extra load might make the
whole building fall down."
Fred says "That's rubbish. We built that shed on top and
there was no problems. Those few small cracks that happened
are something that occurs naturally as the building gets
older. All buildings crack. Been happening since the dawn of
time. Nothing to do with the additional weight of the shed.
It is such a small shed."
So Bruce, being a really good mate, goes to a technical
expert in the field of buildings, a structural engineer, and
pays - with his own money - for the expert to analyse the
proposal to add an extra floor. The engineer comes back and
says the building will in all likelihood fall down if the
additional storey is put on the top.
Bruce takes this expert advice to Fred. Fred, in typical
fashion says "That is rubbish. The buildings not going to
fall down. We built the shed on top and it didn't fall down
so the extra story should also be fine. I feel it in my guts
that it will be fine. Your so called expert is not an expert
- he and his engineer mates have their snouts in the trough
of Government handouts. I spoke to this bloke I met down at
the pub. He said the additional storey would be fine. And
that any advice to the contrary was just a conspiracy by the
left wing cabal who wants One World Government and to
control every thing that I do. It's part of the socialist
conspiracy to prevent my company from growing, to prevent me
from succeeding. I am an individual. I can do what I want."
Bruce says "But I have this advice from a well qualified and
experienced technical expert who has been working in this
field for years. He has done the structural modelling, using
computers and complex structural design software, and has
concluded that the building will fall down with the
Fred is still not convinced "That is just a model put
together by the One World Government cabal. Give me the
EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE that the building will fall down if I put
the additional storey on."
They argued for a while longer but Bruce eventually gives up
and Fred builds his additional storey. And, of course, the
building falls down. But at least Fred had his empirical
* * * * *
(Unfortunately the tale is not without precedence - in
both climate change denial and building collapse.
There have been tragic cases of collapsed buildings due to
additional storeys being added without design and
regulatory approval in less developed countries.)
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