Ambiguous Phrases: “More Heat than Light”
At the risk of sounding daft, it seems to me that the expression “more light than heat” could mean just the very opposite of what you might intend. The common understanding is that “If a discussion generates more heat than light, it doesn’t provide answers, but does make people angry.” But depending on what image the viewer happens to draw up—and I’ve not been able to uncover any actual origin for the saying—the expression could mean something different from, or even the opposite of, what the declarant means. For example, one expects a home furnace or a stove to generate heat, not light. One builds a campfire to produce both.
Thus, it seems unfounded to suggest universal acceptance of the proposition that heat is evil and at all times to be avoided. Yet, that appears to be the implied premise necessary to make “more heat than light” meaningful.
To make one’s meaning clearer, why not say that something creates “more illumination than agitation” or “more enlightenment than excitement”? It makes the declarant’s intent more readily apparent and requires fewer processing cycles of the reader’s CPU.