Category Archives: Philosophy

The Vegetarian Myth

Dr. Eades reviews what appears to be a very interesting book.

My thoughts: No, we can’t sustain the current human population without agriculture. But then, we’re not sure how we’re going to sustain a human population in space, either. We need advances in technology to solve either problem. I suspect that we’ll be manufacturing meat in the not-too-distant future that will have the taste, texture and nutrition of the real thing, and that will be good for all, including wildlife. But even absent that, I’d amend the old bumper sticker. Grains aren’t food. Grains are what food eats.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Why her criticism of Islam enrages western Leftists:

More perplexing to Ms. Hirsi Ali is the hostility leveled at her by some on the left for her efforts to challenge Islamic law and teachings. These critics profess to care about women’s rights but cannot bring themselves to criticize those who trample on them as long as the misogynist possesses an address in the Muslim world. At a recent panel held at the Women in the World summit in New York, the moderator accused Ms. Hirsi Ali of “picking only on Islam.” She countered: “I embrace Muslims but I reject Islamic law … because it’s totalitarian, because it’s bigoted and especially bigoted against women.” The anger she stirs on the left confounds her. “You have to ask yourself why anyone would align with proponents of Islamic law,” she says with wonder.

It’s pretty simple. They’re totally down with totalitarianism. And they feel an affinity with other enemies of western civilization and liberalism.

I would note that while I disagree with Carolyn Porco on a lot of things politically, she absolutely gets this issue right.

“Denialism”

Does it exist? It’s hard to say:

It’s possible that with a lot of work, some extreme corner of the behavior spectrum could be isolated via specific criteria, which then merits labeling as ‘denialist’. But in truth the characteristics of our ‘proto-denialists’ above are radically different to expectations from the current framing, a framing which may have tainted the term beyond redemption. Nor is this approach a great plan even without that taint, because it tends to mask uncomfortable yet crucial truths, especially those in f) and g). So along with other errors we may end up fooling ourselves that there’s a nice clinical division between skeptics and ‘denialists’. Via naïve assumption of cause from a basic categorization of rhetoric, this is exactly the trap I believe Diethelm and McKee have fallen into. Hoofnagle goes further, dishing out labels of ‘dishonest’ and ‘crank’ yet without proper theoretical grounds; despite his noble motives many of these are bound to stick onto the wrong people. Some dishonesty and crankiness will ride any cultural wave, or backlash to such a wave, or backlash to an evidential cause that is perceived as cultural encroachment. But this does not mean that cranks and liars drive the main action; they do not. Nor can the touted methods reliably distinguish crankiness from cultural influence, or skepticism from either.

I would note (as always) that “denial,” and “denialism,” and “denialist” are not scientific terms. They’re religious ones.

[Update a while later]

Bill Nye epitomizes the Left’s authority complex.