Tuesday, February 15, 2011

There Really Is Truth. There Really is Reality

BS Footprint links to a good story about the current abysmal situation at the once-great magazine Scientific American.  Go read.

I first subscribed to Scientific American when I was geeky teenager, so sometime in the late 1960s.  I dropped that subscription that I'd almost had continuously since then in the mid or late 1980s.  The quality was going downhill.   The quality of articles was going from upper-division college level to general-public.  By the time I dropped it, I'm not sure it would have been suitable for anything except high school general science classes - if you watched it carefully. 

The story is about a journalist staffer at Sci Am, who decides to blame the Arizona shooting on the gun and not the shooter, so we need to get rid of guns.  Then, even though he admits there's ample evidence that he's wrong, he ignores it and believes what he wants to.  This is the complete opposite of science.  Ignore contrary data, ignore any other evidence, decide you're right because it feels right.  He has no business being within a mile of a science magazine.

Richard Feynman once noted, "science is about not fooling yourself, and you're the easiest one to fool".  As I noted before, anybody really worthy of being called "scientist" spends much, much more time trying to prove themselves wrong than right.  You're supposed to be a skeptic.


  1. I remember once reading a quote from an anti-gun advocate and a response from a pro-gun realist:

    "This is about the kind of world we *want* to live in!" says the anti-gun advocate, justifying any and all attempts to enact further 'reasonable' gun restrictions on so-called law abiding citizens.

    "Wrong - this is about the kind of world we actually *do* live in!" replies the gun rights advocate.

    Which is engaged in wishful thinking, and which is the realist?

    Reality: We live in a violent world with malicious people, one in which there are real threats to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    It's crystal clear from my research on the subject that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental one, and it's one that separates free men (and women, natch) from an enslaved populace.

    I have no desire to be kept 'safe' from all possible threats (there can be no such thing if you value freedom), but we should be able to prepare ourselves to deal with all manner of threats as we see fit, as long as we are not infringing on the fundamental rights of other people. The right to keep and bear arms is just that.

    All the wishful thinking in the world won't change the fact that we face serious threats to our liberties, from a variety of sources -- and to willingly disarm ourselves in the face of those threats would be sheer madness.

    Thanks for the link! I invite all reasonable people to drop in and leave comments. What's your BS Footprint?

  2. It seems that I broke the URL you linked to -- it's all fixed now, sorry for the inconvenience.

    The old link works now, so please, feel free to re-visit the story!

  3. I remember hearing an interesting quote from a gun-control advocate:

    "It's about the kind of world we *want* to live in."

    To which a gun rights advocate replied:

    "No, it's about the kind of world we *do* live in!"

    Which one is the realist?

    We live in a world in which malicious people hurt others. Disarming in the face of real threats is a recipe for disaster, and only creates more victims.

    Gun control advocates live in a fantasy world where restricting access to evil totems associated with bad outcomes will prevent bad outcomes. It won't. All that will happen (and has happened to some degree) is to create a target-rich environment where evil has free reign.

  4. There's a well written piece on the web, by the Munchkin Wrangler, IIRC, called "Why the Gun is Civilization" that sums it up pretty elegantly.

    We need to live in the real world. Several months ago, a progressive newspaper in Atlanta fired a reporter because he believed an objective reality was out there.

    "At a very fundamental, core level, Springston did not share our vision for a news publication with a progressive perspective. He held on to the notion that there was an objective reality that could be reported objectively, despite the fact that that was not our editorial policy at Atlanta Progressive News. It just wasn't the right fit."

    A summary I wrote is here.

    When you keep in the front of your mind that progressives don't recognize that there is a reality, you realize you can present all the empirical proof you want and they won't believe you. Reality doesn't exist, it's only what they feel. Such people can't be argued with using logic and evidence. Perhaps you can appeal to their emotions, but I imagine they're a lost cause.

  5. Ayn Rand said there wasn't much point arguing with someone who doesn't acknowledge objective reality (I'm paraphrasing).

    Slippery, they are.

    And we really need to stop calling them "progressives" -- there's nothing even remotely resembling progress in their policies.