Friday, May 06, 2005

MORAL RELATIVISTS. You want to know how they do it? Here's a good example. A Wall Street Journal writer looks at some confusion over CDC figures concerning obesity and mortality. His conclusion: no one really knows if being fat is bad for you. In fact, no one really knows much of anything -- not when it comes to the dark arts of medicine and climatology:
This is confusing--and that's the point. Science, of its nature, is always confusing. Medicine is uncertain. But public-policy formation in the U.S., especially as concerns health policy or the environment, whether obesity or the melting of the polar ice caps, admits to very little confusion. We claim to know. But in fact we usually don't know.
Contrast the approach of this WSJ guy, Daniel Henninger, with a different sort of assessment of the same basic data: Thomas Maguire takes the few extra steps needed to reveal that the statistical blips do not prove that packing on the pounds is a risk-free activity. The rest of us may come to similar conclusions using what our ancestors called common sense, paired with our powers of observation.

But for conservative functionaries such as Henninger, doing his bit to further the antiEnlightenment, the grey areas of scientific enquiry are proof that science is, after all, just guesswork, no more valid than your guesses or mine if it comes to that, so that the science community's consensus on, say, global warming can be easily ignored if your spritual or political leaders require it of you.

This attitude has long been in effect further down the food chain, of course -- as in this Washington Times laugher, in which evolution is referred to by its old name of Darwinism -- not an institution, after all, but just the ditherings of one guy who was not Jesus! If some folk prefer to "use a little imagination" on behalf of Intelligent Design, who are the labcoats to squawk? But now that the prestigious Journal has taken it up, we may note a change in the weather, so to speak. You're either with them or against them, as always, whether they're right or wrong -- but now, even if you know what you're talking about and they don't have the slightest fucking clue, "against them" is still the wrong place to be -- maybe even more wrong than ever.

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