Pharyngula

It’s good to piss off the right people

One other important thing about using ridicule to combat your opponents: you have to be on very solid ground yourself for it to be effective. An excellent case in point is Michael Fumento, a rather deranged lawyer by training with negative experience in science (i.e., paying too much attention to him will cause cortical neurons to wither and die) has chosen to flail against competent science, and he makes a complete fool of himself. Fumento’s schtick is to play Chicken Belittle and downplay the importance of public health in favor of privatizing everything, and something that would require coordinated community response, like a potential pandemic, is anathema to him…so he ignores the science and pretends it will never happen. To make his case, I’m amused at his choice of targets: Revere, Mike, and Tim. This is another reason to be pleased to be at Scienceblogs—my peers here raise the ire of the anti-science crazies on both the right and the left. It’s good company!

Comments

  1. #1 David Marjanovi?
    January 12, 2007

    Has he never heard of

    Not only that, he has also never bothered to imagine that the USA might not be the only country in the world with a GDP above that of Eritrea.

  2. #2 David Marjanovi?
    January 12, 2007

    Has he never heard of

    Not only that, he has also never bothered to imagine that the USA might not be the only country in the world with a GDP above that of Eritrea.

  3. #3 David Marjanovi?
    January 12, 2007

    As a person who works in Africa and studies human evolution in Africa, I can go on an on about the European bias, and the closely linked Anti-African bias in archaeological and human evolutionary research. It’s huge.

    Could you fill in my ignorance a little?

  4. #4 David Marjanovi?
    January 12, 2007

    As a person who works in Africa and studies human evolution in Africa, I can go on an on about the European bias, and the closely linked Anti-African bias in archaeological and human evolutionary research. It’s huge.

    Could you fill in my ignorance a little?

  5. #5 David Marjanovi?
    January 12, 2007

    Equating Deconstructionists with anti-science crazies is very sloppy arguing. You can just as easily make the argument that Deconstruction is an implementation of the scientific method by way of examining potential bias in data.

    Isn’t that about the same as postmodernism — the loudly proclaimed truth that there is no truth except the one that there is no truth? That all “stories” are equally true? That, obviously, is anti-science — it is the simple denial that there is such a thing as reality.

  6. #6 David Marjanovi?
    January 12, 2007

    Equating Deconstructionists with anti-science crazies is very sloppy arguing. You can just as easily make the argument that Deconstruction is an implementation of the scientific method by way of examining potential bias in data.

    Isn’t that about the same as postmodernism — the loudly proclaimed truth that there is no truth except the one that there is no truth? That all “stories” are equally true? That, obviously, is anti-science — it is the simple denial that there is such a thing as reality.

  7. #7 Colugo
    January 12, 2007

    It is interesting that Richard Dawkins, one of the great public defenders of scientific progress, is ambivalent about animal research.

    http://www.studentbmj.com/issues/06/09/people/337.php
    “My position on animal research is quite ambiguous, subject to further research on animal suffering.”

    Dawkins also supports the Great Ape Project, which would ban biomedical research on great apes.

    http://www.animal-rights-library.com/texts-m/dawkins01.htm
    “I have argued that the discontinuous gap between humans and ‘apes’ that we erect in our minds is regrettable. … Ethical principles that are based upon accidental caprice should not be respected as if cast in stone.”

    I differ with Dawkins on these matters.

  8. #8 Wakefield Tolbert
    January 13, 2007

    Dawkins also supports the Great Ape Project, which would ban biomedical research on great apes.

    Then he’s a kook too.

    Saying that one hominid is just like another is like saying that hot boiling water is “just” like a cold mountain spring.

    Have someone pour it on your neck to see the difference.

    But that’s Dawkins’ demon to slay. He seems to have so many.
    Predictably, his kind of thinking lends to his kinds of equivications.

    No surprises here.

    WT

  9. #9 Wakefield Tolbert
    January 13, 2007

    Yes, indeed. And yet they were not placed together. Hmmm.
    Context is everything. Reminds me of an interview I had with a popular blogger one time who laughed over and over at the frustration of coming to Superstition blogs, warning me that most of the little trolls here would take two disparate passages and patchthem together like chicken wire to make some point, which of course ends up as utterly pointless.

    STILL: One can believe passionately about something, and despite the passion, be a kook. Dawkins fits the bill nicely, speaking of nice. He has no justification of what he thinks when he strays from science into the realm of ethics other than it makes him warm and fuzzy inside, which elsewhere he derides as mere “notions” and “illusions” along with everything else he thinks can’t be quantified so therefore it is “unreal”, etc.

    Thus, his contradiction is Dawkins way of going through church doors.

    Thanks for the input, such as it was..

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