The Early Days of a Better Nation

Monday, October 27, 2008

I can see Russia from my house

Sarah Palin disparages fruit fly research:
You've heard about some of these pet projects they really don't make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.
I knew I'd heard that one before.


*sigh* I keep telling myself that her asinine rantings (yes, we *all* know they're asinine)are the last desperate gasps of a dying political philosophy. Good news is, by all the polls, they appear to be.

Let's kill all the astronomers so this never happens again!

Just remember, no matter who wins on November 4th, we still have 77 days (January 20th) to prepare before the winner has any real power.

Steven, the President is the son of the last Republican President, who invaded Somalia in the period between losing the election and stepping down. His Vice President was that President's Secretary of Defense at the time. They've sent forces across the border of the countries they currently occupy, Iraq and Afghanistan, into Pakistan and Syria; threatened Iran, and supported the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia.

What on earth makes you think they'd do anything naughty in December?

She is clearly wrong here. On the other hand she was right in saying that polar bears, whose numbers have multiplied over the last 50 years, are not "endangered".

Scientific illiteracy among politicians is a major problem across the western world but this is not close to the worst example - see all those politicians who assure us global temperature is rising catastrophicaly, Pacific islands have already been evacuated because of sea level rise, intermittent windmills can continuously supply most of our power at low cost & reactor waste remains highly radioactive for 100,000s of years.

I think in pinpointing this single slip you are letting your prejudices show.

On the subject of Sarah Palin's ideology, see also.

(If even 10% of this is true, she is deeply scary -- and totally off the deep end, for Alfred Rosenberg values of deep, off, and end.)

Neil, you seem to think I'm picking Sarah Palin because she doesn't think global warming is caused by human activity, and because she wants more oil drilling! No, I'm picking on her because she's important and because she's a wackaloon. I leave serious scientific criticism of politicians to people with serious scientific credibility, like you.

No Ken while I don't know your views on warming I would guess you would accept that Palin's mistake on fruit flies was not as wacky as many of Gore's pronouncements.

I think you are picking on her because you see yourself as left wing & her as right - terms which I believe to be almost meaningless today except as blinkers & tribal markers.

As a complete side alley, the posted like in the original comment about Soviet policy regarding genetics put me in mind of an article I'd read about phages and their therapeutic use in the USSR, which apparently also had a political slant to it's use. Needless to say I've no idea where I read the article now, but below is a link to a Horizon video on thier possible use in the West.

It's not just Soviet science that was shaped by political considerations, and it hasn't stopped happening and that to me is the most disappointing thing about all this progress we have supposedly made.

Nice to see our host has the measure of Neil Craig. Certainly Craig has little idea of the persuasions of our host.
As for polar bears, as usual Neil ignores the scientists and nature lovers (many of whom probably voet republican) who have laboured to maintain and increase said populations, by such evil socialist legislation as getting them on the endangered species lists and establishing reserves, the problem being that large scale habitat destruction by oil drilling and global warming is and will make them more endangered. The last few decades of population growth are because of the restrictions on hunting, not because some sort of perfect polar bear situation has been created in the Arctic.
And of course Gore shows every sign of being several times more intelligent than Palin. Certainly, you'll escuse me for not believing an obviously biased site, which provides no evidence for its claims? No, of course you won't. But yet you ignore the multitude of greater evidence showing that Palin is, frankly, bonkers. Good thing the 9% growth party doesn't get anywhere in the polls.

Neil Craig wrote:

> I think you are picking on her because you see yourself as
> left wing & her as right - terms which I believe to be almost
> meaningless today except as blinkers & tribal markers.

The idea that "left" and "right" are meaningless is the current fashionable stereotype. It doesn't have to be true just because you read it in the papers you know.

Its been shoved down our throats by the bucketload since at least the 1980s. It fits right in with the idea that class is an obsolete category (that one usually goes along with the Woy Jenkins-style ritual deprecation of "The British Class System" by which they usually mean little more than than cultural differences between people who went different kinds of schools) Or the idea that feminism accomplished its work a few decades ago and now no-one need call themselves "feminist" except a few strident man-haters stuck in the past.

FWIW I reckon there is some mileage in words like "left" and "right" (and pontificated about it here: at much greater length than would be charitable to post on someone else's blog)

guthrie said:

> ... the scientists and nature lovers
> (many of whom probably voet republican)
> who have laboured to maintain and increase said populations

One of them is Hank Paulson the bloke who thought up the 700 million bailout plan. He missed out on his proper public career. He's a great fund-raiser, a persuasive speaker, an all-round clever-clogs, and much much greener than practically anyone else in the White House. He'd have made a decent under-secretary for the environment for a medium-sized mountain state. Somewhere like Idaho or Wyoming. A pity they put him in charge of the public purse.

(a different Ken)

Del: This president will do what he'll do regardless of whether it's McCain or Obama who get voted in. My statement referred to the fact that whoever does get voted in, his term doesn't begin until January 20th.

It's a small comfort to know that we have some time to come to grips with whatever the election will throw at us.

Guthrie demonstrates my point about the irrelevance of "left" & "right". He considers himelf "left" but his views on how the state should prevent any increase in national wealth for at least a couple of decades would be considered stupidly reactionary by Lady Catherine de Burg. So long as absolutely nobody on the "left" is willing to denounce any other "leftist" for being an obvious looney then the only possible futre the term can have is as a home for loonies. At the absolute minimum "leftists" should agree on human progress being desireable.

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