Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Search for a Cure for Deafness

New Scientist reports on a milestone in the search for a way to treat and perhaps cure deafness and hardness of hearing.

Since one of the major causes of hearing loss is exposure to loud sounds and since the amplitude of the noise to which we are exposed in modern life, particularly the noise to which young people who play their music at such high volumes are exposed, I suspect that a treatment for deafness will be in great demand in a decade or two.

This article offers hope.


The Ignoble Lie

Imagine for a moment that a Christian minister had written somewhere that even though he knows the stuff he tells children in their confirmation classes is factually wrong it's helpful in solidifying their faith and in making them committed church members. Suppose that the press got hold of such a statement falling from the lips of, say, Pat Robertson. What would be the reaction, do you think?

Well, it's happened, except it wasn't a Christian minister. It was a Darwinian evolutionist named Bora Zivkovic. In a rambling post on his blog in which he naively enthuses over liberalism and almost completely mischaracterizes conservatism, he talks about how it's necessary to be "sneaky" in presenting evolution in the classroom and how it's okay to lie to students about evolution if it helps them believe it:

You cannot bludgeon kids with truth (or insult their religion, i.e., their parents and friends) and hope they will smile and believe you. Yes, NOMA [the idea that science and religion deal with two different aspects or spheres of life, RLC] is wrong, but is a good first tool for gaining trust. You have to bring them over to your side, gain their trust, and then hold their hands and help them step by step. And on that slow journey, which will be painful for many of them, it is OK to use some inaccuracies temporarily if they help you reach the students. If a student, like Natalie Wright who I quoted above, goes on to study biology, then he or she will unlearn the inaccuracies in time. If most of the students do not, but those cutesy examples help them accept evolution, then it is OK if they keep some of those little inaccuracies for the rest of their lives. It is perfectly fine if they keep thinking that Mickey Mouse evolved as long as they think evolution is fine and dandy overall. Without Mickey, they may have become Creationist activists instead. Without belief in NOMA they would have never accepted anything, and well, so be it. Better NOMA-believers than Creationists, don't you think?

Evidently, Zivkovic doesn't think the facts are sufficiently compelling to persuade students to believe his brand of evolution so one must be prepared to forego the truth and resort to lies if that's what it takes to persuade the reluctant. One might wonder what evolutionary "facts" we believe today that the Darwinians have been lying to us about.

In his post, Zivkovic proudly proclaims that he's a liberal. Contemporary liberalism is a form of fascism, and fascists ever since Plato have believed the concept of the Noble Lie, the lie that's necessary to persuade those who are otherwise too reactionary to go along with the fascist program. Zivkovic stands in that ugly fascist tradition that stretches back to ancient Greece and runs through 20th century Europe into modern America. It's the tradition that holds that those who know what's best for us are justified in lying to us in order to get us to swallow the bitter medicine of social and political conformity. It's an idea that destroys freedom and democracy, which can only exist when people know the truth.

Next time someone tells you we should trust scientists who are, after all, only engaged in a dispassionate search for the truth, give them the name of Bora Zivkovic.

HT: Anika Smith



George Will weighs Obama's economic plans in the balance and finds them dangerously underweight.

Here's an excerpt discussing Obama's energy proposals:

But back to requiring this or that quota of energy from renewable sources. What will that involve? For conservatives, seeing is believing; for liberals, believing is seeing. Obama seems to believe that if a particular outcome is desirable, one can see how to require it. But how does that work? Details to follow, sometime after noon, Jan. 20, 2009.

Obama has also promised that "we will get 1 million 150-mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids on our roads within six years." What a tranquilizing verb "get" is. This senator, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, is going to get a huge, complex industry to produce, and is going to get a million consumers to buy, these cars. How? Almost certainly by federal financial incentives for both -- billions of dollars of tax subsidies for automakers, and billions more to bribe customers to buy these cars they otherwise would spurn.

Conservatives are sometimes justly accused of ascribing magic powers to money and markets: Increase the monetary demand for anything and the supply of it will expand. But it is liberals like Obama who think that any new technological marvel or other social delight can be summoned into existence by a sufficient appropriation. Once they thought "model cities" could be, too.

Where will the electricity for these million cars come from? Not nuclear power (see above). And not anywhere else, if Obama means this: "I will set a hard cap on all carbon emissions at a level that scientists say is necessary to curb global warming -- an 80 percent reduction by 2050."

No he won't. Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute notes that in 2050 there will be 420 million Americans -- 40 million more households. So Obama's cap would require reducing per capita carbon emissions to levels probably below even those "in colonial days when the only fuel we burned was wood."

The piece is about more than just energy and is worth reading, as Will's work usually is.