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Non-Book Talk: News and Politics > Fake Science--->>>Big Government

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message 1: by Marina (last edited Nov 06, 2011 09:15AM) (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
In case you haven't heard, here is the latest in piece of fake science that was purported to have social implications. It's right up there with studies that watching football leads to wife beating and dirty streets lead to racism...

The link between fake science and big government is an old one, from eugenics to global warming to food policing... the list goes on. And while commingling of government and religion has been dangerous in some circumstances, the fake science used in support of government policies is much, much worse. People have a certain degree of reverence for scientists. After all, they are smarter than most, they studied longer, their findings have to be reviewed and approved. So when a scientist comes out with anything, our first inclination is to believe. Our second inclination is to ask our public officials to "do something" based on the findings. After all, the scientists said it, and they are never wrong, and anyone who contradicts them is an ignorant redneck or a corporate shill. So we ban incandescent bulbs, or salt in restaurants, or happy meals, or SUVs. And when the next scientific "fact" turns out to be untrue, we just shrug and move on to the next "discovery," such as the one above. Has anyone noticed how, ever since Obamacare has passed, there is a slew of studies on how patients need fewer tests, fewer drugs, fewer surgeries; how prolonging life for the elderly is not just expensive but cruel to them and their families; how all of a sudden cancer screenings are a waste of time? For everyone who complains about science funded by corporations, I submit that science funded by government (or indirectly by government supported academia) is infinitely more dangerous.

When it comes to books, State of Fear is obviously the one that comes to mind. Otherwise, although a crazy/power hungry scientist is a staple of literature, especially sci-fi, there haven't been other work I can think of that poses a question of what happens when a scientist who is NOT crazy uses his abilities to gain political power. Dean Koontz sort of explores it around the edges, but never head-on.

message 2: by Rich (new)

Rich (nyrjw) | 14 comments I saw another take on that story over at io9, and likewise noticed that evidence of politicized science being faked to advance (mostly, if not all) leftist policy agendas is largely ignored everywhere else (see: MSM).

Ever since I read STATE OF FEAR this has been a topic I'm interested in, and like you, Masha, very disappointed that there isn't more out there tackling this problem. If only Dr. Crichton were still with us...

Actually, before Crichton wrote his book, Tom Clancy took a pretty sharp stab at it with RAINBOW SIX. It's been a long time and I have forgotten the finer details, but the protagonist motives in that book fall pretty much in line with STATE OF FEAR.

Koontz definitely "explores it around the edges," in books like FALSE MEMORY, ONE DOOR AWAY FROM HEAVEN, and even longer ago in MIDNIGHT with the Dr. Frankenstein-like fascism of the mad scientist character Thomas Shaddack.

The hardest part for me is the total lack of good fiction in this area in Science Fiction specifically, which should be the genre that is responsible for "righting the ship," so to speak. Science is being treated as a hammer and sickle to be wielded first and understood later, if ever at all. It is a crutch to every left-wing argument second only to the word "racist," to be thrown out there in the ad-hominem effort of someone who knows they are losing an argument. Just say "science" several times, in an accusatory tone, and follow it up with assumptions about beliefs in Creationism and The Earth Is Flat, and you've won. But to actually understand the science, instead of just saying the word a lot? Why bother!

If someone who uses Darwinism as a crutch actually sat down and read THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, as I have done, they would discover the innumerable passages--written by Darwin--that negate many of his own assumptions with the absence of further evidence since he wrote the text. The dogma of Evolution is more closed minded at this point than anything it aligns itself against, and anything outside the Darwin Circle is heretical. Koontz takes a sideways shot at this in BREATHLESS, but not nearly as direct as I would have liked. It's a novelists prerogative to approach his stories with a certain degree of subtlety, I suppose.

I am forever annoyed with science fiction authors who are either ignoring any such thing as rigorous science or are going along with the politicization of science by propagandizing in their fiction as if they were on a political action committee payroll. What I really want is for a good SF writer to stand up and just say they have had enough, and write a novel about the future of the Earth where global temperatures have been proven to be cyclical and our more intelligent descendants have moved on to bigger problems that actually exist.

message 3: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
I am puzzled at the number of sci-fi writers who swing left, and although I occasionally enjoy cyberpunk, I don't understand the fear of a society run by "corporations" that is usually the central premise of the genre. People who don't see the distinction between a powerful corporation and an out-of-control government are either intellectually lazy or disingenuous.

Darwin is a controversial figure, having been accused, among other things, of plagiarism and racism. However, from what I know of his life, he did not intend for his work to become dogma, never to be questioned. In fact, he had admitted that evolution did not explain everything (for one, he could not account for recessive mutations since the science of genetics was not yet developed) and was not satisfied that his theory was complete. Unlike Glen Beck, I don't hold Darwin personally responsible for eugenics (he was a product of his time, after all, and held its prejudices). However, it's a prime example of not only junk science having terrible consequences, but a cautionary tale against holding on to "established" scientific dogma at the cost of both common sense and human morality.

message 4: by Rich (new)

Rich (nyrjw) | 14 comments Agreed. If Darwinism is not only relevant, but important in today's science (it is), then why does it have to be accepted as Gospel? The scientific method is about rigorous debate and the constant testing of theories and verification of ideas? Why is it, in all of this time, that no one has thought to take the original ideas of Darwin and propel them a little bit further? In effect, if evolution was being handled properly, it would be approached with a similar attitude the Newton and Leibniz and Aristotle and plenty of other long-gone scientists. THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES should be looked at as a good starting-off point, not as infallible and permanent. But the pervasive attitude that this "science" as opposed to that "science" is the only correct version has kept the scientific method at bay and the origin of Darwin's ideas have remained stagnant, instead of being explored further and extrapolated into new theories that include discoveries since that time.

Totally agreed with that aspect of Science Fiction that holds corporate entities and private sector greed as the only archenemies of the future. It is lazy and foolish for anyone to think that powerful government control over our lives will not have more impact at every level, but the all-powerful multi-national equivalent of the future conglomerate is now such an ingrained cliche of the genre that it is unavoidable, and one of the things I hate most about science fiction. Even though I love science fiction. It is all so very frustrating.

message 5: by Eddie (new)

Eddie Novak (eddien) | 123 comments Mod
John C. Wright has a book coming out next month that has humanity exploring space, and not because of global warming or resource depletion.

Understanding is important in science. If the idea is scientific, that means it can be explained well and that the data is clear. If so, then we don't need politicians (who know nothing of the science) ordering our lives around these things, but we need to understand these things ourselves and live accordingly. If you can't convince others, then too bad.

message 6: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Oh yeah, that's another sci-fi cliche- humans destroy Earth with war or "greed" and are forced to move to space. Even our beloved Firefly starts with "The Earth Got Used Up" as a premise.

message 7: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Here's another one... It just keeps coming.

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments I know. So often (even with books I like "overall") I spend time beating my head against the nearest hard surface because of the assumptions on writer's part. So many simply consume the left wing Kool Aid.

Back in the early '80s there was a book stating that most settlers who moved west in America really didn't own guns. It stated gun ownership was really very rare and it was all a myth perpetrated by "modern gun people". It was heavily foot noted and very well supported. The History Book Club (of which i was a member) made it a selection of the month, it was up for awards and touted by all the right people.

Then it came out all the sources were fake and the book was basically a work of fiction. The book club withdrew it (reluctantly but in the end honestly) and it was (finally) written up in U.S.News and World Report (which was still attempting to be balanced, a little). The book quoted fake and nonexistent sources. It even quoted newspapers from San Francisco that were dated during the "great quake" when the cited paper wasn't being published.

By the way Rich, when I was in college there was a discussion over "Darwinism" when I finally asked how many had actually read Origin of the Species. As I recall I don't believe even one had. I had the satisfaction of being able to say "congratulations, you haven't been educated, you've been indoctrinated."

message 9: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Wow, haven't seen this one before... I always knew there was something fishy about the autism-vaccine connection, but so many people I personally know were convinced. And it's not just "oops, never mind," this actually caused loss of life because of kids now being under-vaccinated.

Here's the "money quote," no pun intended:
"It's always hard to explain fraud and where it affects people to lie in science," Godlee said. "But it does seem a financial motive was underlying this, both in terms of payments by lawyers and through legal aid grants that he received but also through financial schemes that he hoped would benefit him through diagnostic and other tests for autism and MMR-related issues."

message 10: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Most of you have probably seen this already on Drudge. This is not as funny as it seems, but actually makes perfect sense. As EU is falling apart and countries try to cut their budgets, the regulators and "esteemed scientists" funded by said regulators try to justify that they still need to receive taxpayer money.

message 11: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
More on Climategate...And yet, all the regulations are still in effect like nothing has happened. Coke is still doing the polar bear stuff too (Hasn't it been shown by now they are not really endangered? Never mind.)

message 12: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Nov 25, 2011 10:18AM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments Somehow this will never get any real mention in the "popular press".

Just finished State of Fear (though I'd had a copy on my shelves for years). Sort of "apropos".

message 13: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Gotta love them scientific studies... I guess they're not limited to Western democracies anymore...

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments I knew it!


message 15: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
This from Drudge- Finally some truth. BUT we know FOR SURE we only have 10 years to stop glo...oops, climate change, and we know FOR SURE it causes hurricanes...which we now admit we can't predict...never mind...

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments But we KNOW that if we don't stop the new pipeline...refuse to issue new drilling permits...and deny farmers in the west water for their crops, the sky will fall.

message 17: by Marina (last edited Jan 29, 2012 06:48PM) (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Oh for crying out loud... Can I just curl up in a fetal position and wait for the world to end?

Actually no I can't- have to work to pay taxes to support these stupid studies.

message 18: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Jan 29, 2012 06:56PM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments I don't know, I broke up...sad I guess. I remember back in the '70s we were being warned about a new ice age.

message 19: by Eddie (new)

Eddie Novak (eddien) | 123 comments Mod
Sort of related.

'FDA’s New Claim: “Your Body Is a Drug—and We Have the Authority to Regulate It!”'


The Interstate Commerce Law is pretty much the one tiny flaw in the Constitution that put the foots of Statists in the door for their takeover.

message 20: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Ah, NOW it makes sense. Adult stem cells are not PC.

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments No...but they are government controlled. You realize that if our stem cells are a controlled substance then the rest of of "us" will soon be also.

Just a thought.

message 22: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
I thought we were supposed to have control over our bodies? Or is it only when we want an abortion? Does killing off potential taxpayers hurt interstate commerce?

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments We are also supposed to have the right to our own homes etc without intrusion outside of a warrant. Then we got the Patriot Act. We are supposed to have freedom of religion, unless you're a pharmacist who doesn't want to sell the abortion pill or a Catholic employer who believes it's a sin to provide birth control. We're supposed to have the freedom to own firearms, unless you live in New York, Washington DC or maybe just the elites don't want you to. You're supposed to have freedom of speech, unless the same elites can slap an equal time requirement on you.

Need I go on?

message 24: by Marina (new)

message 25: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Anyone else finds the timing of this convenient? I'm not saying it's all fake science, but kind of undermines the unimpeachable scientist view, don't you think?

Notice the reference to "futile end of life care" towards the end. But death panels talk is just Sarah Palin being stupid. Right? Right?

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments Humm. I commented earlier and the sight lost the comment and then started giving me "Bad Gateway" screens... Oh well.

Yeah, I heard this earlier this morning and also though, wow more cancer deaths and so on.

message 27: by Marina (last edited Apr 04, 2012 01:04PM) (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
I was wondering why they are not recommending fewer amnios, esp. for women 35 and under. Oh yeah, because more amnios=more abortions and an occasional miscarriage= SAVINGS!!!

I didn't make the last part up. Our HHS secretary did. Fewer babies=savings.

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments And I hear they're stocking up on pain pills.

message 29: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
They will need them for untreated cancer patients, that's for sure.

As a cancer survivor, I'm not amused. But sometimes you have to throw up your hands and laugh at the absurdity.

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments I just turned 60 so I have to stop and think to. Big repairs are probably not in the cards for "older people".

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