The Phileas Club 96 – Special: Explaining Ireland


On this episode we talk about:

  • What Ireland is, and its recent history.

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  1. I’m about an hour into listening to this episode and loving it! I have known Bart for more than a decade and have had many discussions with him over the years about culture and history and religion and politics in Ireland, but I’m still learning a lot that we’d never discussed. GREAT guest to have on the Phileas Club.

    Two corrections of thought, one for each of you.

    Early in the show, Patrick said that the US doesn’t believe in climate change. Both of you said that everyone in your countries believes in it. Neither statement is true, I’m sure. We could assuredly find people in Ireland and France (and Norway) who are not of scientific mind and don’t yet understand. In the US, there is a vocal minority (unfortunately many working for our current administration) who are not scientifically educated and who do not understand.

    According to a Yale study from 2015, only 8% of the US population is very sure or extremely sure that climate change is not happening. 40% are extremely or very sure that it IS happening. Of those who understand that it is happening, only 33% deny that it’s mostly human-caused, while 53% believe that it IS human-caused. (source:

    Please don’t ever lump all of the US (or any other country) into a single pile of any belief?

    Ok, point two is for Bart. At 52:14 he said about Irish workers, “We don’t work as long of hours as Americans, but we are more productive than Americans”. Well, that’s not true either. According to Wikipedia, Norway is the most productive country, with the US coming in 3rd and Ireland is 8th, coming in at 19% less productive than the US. (source:

    He did go on to elaborate with some anecdotal evidence from talking to Intel, but just in case anyone heard that opening sentence about US productivity I wanted to set the record straight. Patrick and I discussed this particular point when he was on my show (in the context of the hours Japanese people work) and I had studied the data so I knew it wasn’t true.

    The US gets bashed a LOT right now for our current administration and it is 100% deserved because of our childish and dangerous president, but on these two points, I must defend America!

    Now I can go back to listening to the rest of the show!

    • Hey Allison! I’ll address mine I guess: maybe I misspoke, but I stand by the sentiment: for us, climate change isn’t really a debate. Not socially, not politically. Sure, you might find some people who don’t believe in it (or that it’s not man cause or whatever silliness is being peddled these days), but we’re not having that discussion on a country-wide level in any significant manner. Solutions, that’s another matter entirely. But while I agree with you “not everyone agrees in the US”, I do think it’s fair to say that the things that happen in your country on that topic are ridiculous and unimaginable for us at this stage. And yes, it makes me sad too. 🙁

      • Thanks, Patrick – I agree with you 100%. The conversation is bizarre over here for sure. Maybe it’s because we’re so huge, it’s impossible to ever say, “Americans believe blah” and ever be even close to correct. If you were to talk to California, you’d get a completely different response than talking to say a southern state or a more rural state. And yet we’re all lumped together into believing what the silliest of us believe.

      • Well, I’m sure there’s a reason for that state of affairs, but I’m not sure the huge population is it. 320M is a lot, but there’s 65M French people, I don’t think something magical happens when you pass the 100M or 200M or 300M bar. And again, I’m sorry to be blunt, but it’s not that we’re “lumping everyone with the worse of you”, it’s the fact that the “worse of you” is an actual active political force that we decry. To clarify, we’re not saying “every American believe climate change is a lie”, we’re saying “oh those crazy Americans, they’re still having that unbelievable debate about climate change”. I’m not trying to be hurtful or disrespectful, but we are VERY aware that there are very different schools of thought in the US, and that the coasts especially are very close to Europe in many ways. But putting it like that (we’re all lumped together) is not a correct characterisation of the view of the world on the US: we very much understand the makeup of the country, and still… :/

  2. I guess all I’m asking is a little more clarity of statement, as you’ve done here. I did find some interesting metrics that showed that Europeans are much more worried about climate change on average than Americans and that people from the higher consuming fossil fuel countries are less likely to say that they’re worried about climate change. It also bugs me to even use the word “believe” as though this is a faith-based issue. It’s factual and scientifically demonstrable! But then again, I’m an engineer.

    • It bothers me too, but if someone doesn’t believe it’s true, they still just don’t “believe it”, there isn’t another word… Arg, if anyone had told me we’d be here 10 years ago, I’d have bought them a ticket to the insane asylum… 🙁

  3. Jean-Yves Barralis says:

    Excellent show ! Excellent guest ! One of the best i ever listened. I love this format when one can go in depth about a country. Thank you so much. I m hoping you are having the idea of making one just like that about each country 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m very glad you enjoyed it. I’ll try to go through the list of all countries in the world, it’s just going to take a bit of time… 🙂

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