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August 21, 2007


Richard Dell


One problem with the demise of scientific training in Britain, as well as elsewhere, is the failure to appreciate the significance of evidence (as a scientist would say) or facts (as the rest of us would say). To the scientist, a single fact that does not conform to a theory means, without exception, that the theory is flawed or incomplete. To the rest of us this means the theory is wrong.

However to the Socialist, the Marxist, the Islamist, Johann Hari, Suemus Milne, Noam Chomsky, etc., a contradictory fact is something required to be swept under the carpet, dismissed, or in the last resort, the character (or in extreme cases the physical) assassination of the messenger. Theory rules.

I consider this human trait to be a case of evolution in progress. There is a beetle that has a defence mechanism of flipping itself on its back and playing dead. However, should you put it hack on its feet, it immediately flips again, proving that it is not dead. It is very unlikely to have met creatures who right it, and so has never had to perfect its tactic. The resolution of our own weakness of doublethink may involve a lot of bloodshed.

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." - William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)


"However, should you put it hack on its feet, it immediately flips again, proving that it is not dead." Crikey! Sounds just like 'Conspiracy Theorists'...;)


How do you see the Pseudo-Sciences fitting in? You know, Marxism, Freudianism, Climate Science.....

James Hamilton

That's a really interesting point you make there about a link between apparent failure to grow up and a changing society that rewards continued learning and openness to it - don't think I've seen that idea anywhere before.

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