Saturday, September 17, 2011
  Two opposite ways to be an ignorant fuckhead

In this morning's media we find two mirror-image examples of stupidity about science, both relating to Perry and HPV.

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First, Lopez at NRO:
Right now, Gov. Jerry Brown has legislation waiting for his signature that would allow twelve-old-girls to get the vaccine without a parent’s permission.

Since California minor girls can already bypass their parents to get abortions in the state, parental rights are already on disgracefully precarious ground there. I realize there are folks on different sides of the mandate question here, but, I suppose, at least with a mandate there is the opt-out option. As the California legislation stands, it would simply push parents out of the decision.

Lopez is conflating two opposite situations.

Abortion kills a human life, HPV vaccination saves a human life.

Because HPV has some kind of sexual connotation in Lopez's mind, she flips it into the same category as abortion.

If you're really pro-life, you're pro-vaccination. Period.

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Second, an hour-long Radio Australia feature about a meeting where old Stalin-laureate scientists train young scientists in the evil ways of Stalin. [Can't find online link yet.]

The feature included thousands of drearily predictable bits of Stalinist ignorance on evolution, stem cells, population growth, "endangered species", "global warming" and all the usual suspects.

Closed with an interview with Hans Rosling, a Swedish public health specialist. First he smashed unnamed Republican politicians who dare to state that evolution is only a theory. This smash is standard Stalinist boilerplate, and it's also the deepest and hardest rejection of everything science stands for. When you think any theory is settled and unquestionable, you are no longer a scientist. You are a religious fanatic. It's also an utterly meaningless point, valuable only to the Inquisitor who needs to detect heretics. Your internal belief about evolution, like your internal belief about Papal Infallibility, has precisely zero effect on your ability to do anything real, from science to dishwashing.

Rosling then went on to talk about his own current passion, the need to spread HPV vaccination to poor people around the world. But he didn't even know that Perry, the same politician he had just smashed for being more scientific than Rosling, was also one of the few politicians who has tried to achieve this exact goal. Or if he knew it, he was unable to say it.

So Rosling hates Perry for a completely inconsequential and backward reason, and then fails to embrace him for advancing his own consequential and truly life-saving passion.

Raw-boned ignorance.

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I struggle to find an analogy. A century ago there were plenty of isolated stone-age cultures and mountain people with no outside contact, who possessed weird ideas about how other people lived.

Nowadays the only people who suffer from this level of ignorance and bigotry are the elites.

A century ago ignorant people had no effect on the rest of us. Now the most bizarrely stupid humans are in full control of education, science and politics.

We're fucked.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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