Two stories make me wonder if 'conventional wisdom' has really gone utterly loony.
1. A story about the role of household cleanliness in preventing allergies and asthma. New and 'shocking' research shows that early exposure to a certain amount of germs and dirt is good for the immune system, and leads to less asthma later on. The announcer says "Intuition tells us that cleaner is better." Whoa. Not my intuition, not my grandparents' or parents' intuition. Fifty years ago, conventional wisdom totally comprehended the idea of immunity, which was already a couple of centuries old. When we talked about a kid who had asthma, we assumed that his mother was a Lysol freak, and we were usually right.
If the tone of this story truly represents modern 'common sense', then we've truly lost our minds. I wonder if the Precautionary Principle
has penetrated our brains to the extent that we no longer believe in immunity?Here
is the ABC version of the story. [I must have been listening to the CBS version on TV, but couldn't find it on the web for reference.]
2. Various panelists discussing Moussaoui agree easily that he's crazy, because he wants Allah to curse us, and because he had dreams about 9/11 and Afghanistan that turned out to be true. He also dreamed that Bush will pardon him and send him to London. So what's crazy about any of that? Most of what he says is perfectly consistent and appropriate for an enemy soldier, specifically in the Army of Allah. Some people have more accurate dreams than others, and if his dreams were accurate on the first two points, he's probably a good choice for a soldier in that particular army. As for the third dream, I'll bet he's right there as well, even though I haven't had a dream to that effect. In Misterbush's Neighborhood, everyone is forgivable, and Arabs are just good people who we need to understand better.