Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Online Science Community: Under The Microscope With The Crack In It (A Series)

In the comments section of a post I recently did on Al Gore, I got challenged on three assertions I made about the science community. They went like this:
1) The science community is made up (almost overwhelmingly) by Leftists, and - like all Leftists - they're not really prone to questioning their own assumptions. Especially the assumption they're not affected by NewAge thinking. (They're too smart - ha, ha: this ain't an I.Q. test, folks,...)

2) They haven't studied cultism, or NewAge's pagan roots, and the sneaky way pagans work on/in society - meaning: how it's worked on them - very well.

3) Like everyone NewAge has affected, they want to be heroes, so they can tell the rest of us what's what.
Because of the way my challenger attacked me (insisting I come at the issue of NewAge thinking, and cultism, as a scientist would; kindly - or arrogantly, depending on your perspective - explaining what a "fallacy" is (man, do those guys love that word), displaying hurt that I would even question the science community's biases when skepticism is supposed to be science's game, etc.) I assume he/she is another Leftist scientist. But there's no way to be sure, because it was an "anonymous" commenter; it wouldn't surprise me though, since (as I just pointed out in my last post) if there's one thing most of the Left lacks, it's the courage to really stand up and be counted.

Ah, but I am starting to count. That's what my challenger asked me to do - analyze the evidence - and see if there's any conclusions that can be drawn from what I find. Keep in mind: I didn't really set out to do this today, but as I was surfing around the web, doing my regular reading, certain things did start to stand out and, since the guy/gal suggested I do it, it occurs to me this actually can be a "teaching moment" for everybody - if only to see themselves through my, admittedly conservative, and more cult-obsessed, eyes.

And one more (I think) very-important point: all the science blogs I'm about to savage like Conan (he-he, except for one) are places I visit because I like them. I don't visit them to punch holes in their theories, or to shake my head and think "these stupid Liberals" - I save all that for political sites. But I go to these blogs to (hopefully) read about some real ideas being discussed by intelligent people who are serious in their intent to get at some kind of truth through the use of the scientific process. Unfortunately - and, at this point, "needless to say" - that's not what I always find and it hurts. I feel really let down.

Also, before I do this, I'd like to add that I'm not picking-and-choosing which blogs I'm going after - these are just a few of the many blogs I've found to be the most popular science-loving, and skeptical, sites around. And (since I was first looking for answers, oh so long ago, regarding NewAge and cultish questions) their biases have blazed like search lights before a club opening.

So that's it. That's all the criteria I'm using.

O.K. - TMR's thoughts on the Left, NewAge, and cultism, in science and skepticism - here's what I got:

Well, first there's P.Z. Myers' blog, Pharyngula, which is subtitled: "Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal". Hmm.

Shall I go on? Shall I belabor the point? Shall I make you, the reader, have to wonder which of the three categories I'm going to put good ol' P.Z. under? I mean, putting "ejaculations" and "godless" in the same sentence could, as I see it, indicate a tendency towards NewAge thinking (NewAgers love to think of themselves as atheists, even as they suck up to whatever Eastern drek is in vogue, because they stupidly assume atheism is merely their paganistic rejection of Christianity and not the whole "spiritual" kit and kaboodle. They really are like, "Duh" that way. And they like to fuck, but, mind you, they do it "spiritually" for the "energy".)

No, I seriously think the word "liberal" is enough to give P.Z.'s game away and I'll assume nothing else about him at this time, except - no matter how smart he may be in other areas, or whether or not (like a lot of Liberals) he harbors a desire to have his bearded face turned into a glazed doughnut - the man simply doesn't know how to vote in his own best interest.

Next up is one of my favorite blogs, Mike's Weekly Skeptic Rant. Mike has really disappointed me recently - not because of his obvious and regularly proclaimed liberal bias, but because he got rid of that cool picture of himself, smugly looking into the camera wearing Satan's horns (above) which I always thought was a hoot. I'd crack up every time I saw it but, for some reason, he ditched it for that new butt-ugly black-and-white thing; which only serves to remind me that, when it comes to Canadians, there's no accounting for taste (what happened to the photo, Mike?).

Another of the draws that "Big Heathen Mike" has - which I love - is his Friday Punch In The Mouth, which tells me the man ain't as liberal as he pretends. (Liberals hate violence of any kind - even when, or especially when, it comes to the defense of some principle, or even a human being - but not my man, Mike: he just let's 'em fly with the best of 'em, which one can really appreciate at the end of each week.) Why, the guy is even courteous enough to give instructions on how it's done right:

He also serves up excellent examples of, um, "technique":

Come on: a punch to the face doesn't get any better than that.

Unfortunately, like a lot of self-proclaimed liberals, Mike, too, is hung up on Christianity - really hung up on Christianity - so it can tend to taint his perspective on other important (and probably, from an atheistic perspective, more immediate) issues; like the Iraq War, or music (Message to Mike: Dave Matthews is really bad music, Dude. Don't let that shit happen again,....) I thought a guy who gives people a punch in the face just because it's Friday would know all this.

Anyway, as I said, I really do like Mike's blog a lot and, yea, he's another liberal - and a Canadian - but what the hell, he's open about all of it, so I'm in the guy's corner. I just wish he'd bring that photo back: I loved that thing.

Now we come to the Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumb of the skeptic world: Chris and Mike, The Brothers Hoofnagle. (Yea, "Hoofnagle." Can you believe it?) I've been so offended by this pair (actually, that's not true: Mike is the truly offensive one) that I did a post, a long time ago, specifically about their blog, Denialism.com. Since then I've tried to put the knowledge it exists out of my mind.

Are the Hoofnagle's liberal? You betcha. To the point of disgust. And the whole cultish denialism thing - equating people who deny Global Warming to people who deny the Holocaust - is just as offensive.

I really don't have much good to say about anything Mike Hoofnagle is involved in (I hear, Heaven help us, he's getting into medicine). As a matter of fact, I dislike the guy so damn much I'm not gonna speak on him anymore, or put a link to his blog (or a tag in this post) because the less said the better. I mean, I understand: starting out in life, with a name like "Hoofnagle", things must have been hard - but he coulda changed it - and he didn't. So now, no matter how much shit he talks, he's obviously filled with a self-loathing that he can't help but lay on people. But I have news for him: the rest of his bullshit is just more icing on his life's fucked-up cake. My only advice is that he and P.Z. Myers might consider putting an ad on Craig's List together or something. You know, for "frosting."

And finally (for now) comes one of the Queen Bees of the science world: Orac, Orac, Orac, of Respectful Insolence. (All hail, Orac.) This guy is one of the more interesting cases out there in Science World:

On the one hand, he can come off as an extremely reasonable and likable guy, putting the boot to groups that deserve a swift kick to the keester, like creationists and those silly (yet dangerous to children) antivaccinationists. On the other hand, Orac IS a liberal, and - even though he does a regular feature called Your Friday Dose of Woo - I've always found him to be kind of a NewAge apologist. Actually, that's not a totally accurate description, so let me clarify:

Much like being an agnostic gives believers a bit of wiggle room (what do you mean, you're not sure there's no god?) in the time I've known of Orac, he has from time-to-time been pretty credulous when it comes to the picture of normalcy that NewAge cultists have tried to paint for themselves. Now, this could be because of what I perceive as the man's overall attempts to be decent, and fair, but - being a liberal - it also stinks up the joint with the sickly-sweet smell of male cowardice.

Of all the science bloggers, who have been at it for a while, Orac is probably the best positioned to be a major general in the fight against NewAge influence in science and medicine: he's young, quite knowledgeable, and quick with a quip when he needs one. But he's, also, so caught up in the liberal culture of the scientific community that he can't see the forest for the trees. Even he seems to recognize it, like recently, when he mentioned a Panda Bear, M.D. post on "alternative medicine" that forced him to admit the major difference in their approaches. Orac said:
"Panda's muscling in on my territory and doing a frighteningly good job of it, too. I may not always agree with his politics (in fact, I frequently don't), but he definitely knows how to deal with woo."
Yes he does. Muscling in on your territory? Dude, he's kicking your fucking ass. He's wiping your territory off on his pantleg. He's taking the candy from the baby - woo-wooing the whole time - and there ain't shit you can do about it, Dad, because - let's face it - you ain't man enough.

And, oh please, let me be the first to point out that he's doing it using the exact same approach I've been asking people like Orac to assume from the very first (I say "asking" because they've, mostly, been so full of themselves - based only on their knowledge, and use, of big-assed words - that they've always demanded some form of subservience before they'd even consider the wisdom of anybody who couldn't be bothered to show off):

Panda Bear speaks clearly, and repeatedly makes it known that NewAge shit is whack - all of it - no further discussion necessary.

Panda Bear clearly, and repeatedly, makes it known that NewAge nonsense should be referred to as "nonsense".

Panda Bear clearly, and repeatedly, makes it known that those NewAge medical and scientific beliefs and practices that involve cultists should be called "cults" - not "quasi-religious", or "spiritual", or whatever other wannabe-respectful term the liberal scientists have been searching to use, so as to, both, avoid saying the word and/or to avoid the appearance of prejudice. But your dumb asses should be prejudiced: the NewAgers are attacking you in your own fucking house!!!

Panda Bear clearly, and repeatedly, criticizes the medical and scientific communities for falling for NewAge - with the same bravado he uses on NewAge itself - and he judges hospitals especially guilty for taking the "easy money" that is, obviously, the life blood of the whole NewAge enterprise.

Oh, and Panda Bear has TMR on his blogroll, while clearly, and repeatedly, telling everyone to read the damn thing, so they can understand NewAge, politics, and a whole bunch of other things some of you science assholes know waaay too little about - like how to treat people when they come to you for help.

You heard me: TMR doesn't exist just so science folks can troll, and point, and say, "heh-heh" (like they're Beavis and Butthead, and I'm science's circus freak because I actually suffered something bad because of NewAge) it's here because your stupid asses might actually need to learn something. Yea, from little ol' me. (Imagine that.)

Not only has the science community's behavior over the years been stupid, and juvenile, but it's been (excessively) cruel: you guys are a fine example of Liberal Fascism. I first came to you for help. And what did I get? You called me names; you took potshots at my divorce (how hard is that? I'm divorced - Ooohh); you joked about NewAge - which is, mostly, all you do - and right in front of me, when I told you I had a death involved and it wasn't a laughing matter. What are you guys doing now? Going on about whatever other "study" is out? (A "study" of homeopathy? Are you kidding me?) You guys may see yourselves as defenders of some great ideal but, let me tell you, from where I stand, you are nothing like how you see yourselves. You're not even close. It's no wonder woo is making inroads into science and medicine, because, honestly, the only people buying what you're selling is you. Everybody else is ignoring you.

Personally, I think it's wild - and fitting - that a conservative, Christian, veteran of the United States Marines (Hooah!) and not one of the many wonderfully wimpy atheists from England (i.e. Richard Dawkins, etc., who I love) is the one to finally open Orac's eyes to his own (major) failings in this regard. I just wish it coulda been me.

But - as we're all seeing in this presidential campaign season - for some mysterious reason, being a passionate black guy, and one that's trying to be on the same American team, just doesn't seem to cut it in Liberal circles,...though no one can exactly put their finger on why. I figure it's just the liberal tendency towards hypocrisy. I mean, isn't hypocrisy really the shame of Liberalism - or what they're calling being "progressive"? Whatever. That's a problem for someone else - I'm a conservative - and I gotta go.

I hope this very first post in this series has indicated *something* worthwhile to y'all in the science community (a lot of libs so far) but, I imagine, it won't. I expect the usual sniping, nitpicking, name-calling, and assorted cheap shots you typically fall back on, but that's O.K. - I'm a big boy - and haven't been given any reason to expect anything better. You're Liberals, Feminists, NewAgers, and Wimps.

Hardly the types that can handle The Macho Response

Part II can be found here.

6 comments:

  1. Define "New Age Thinking"

    Define "Liberal"

    Define "Conservative"

    "Those words mean whatever I want them to mean," says the Crack Emcee.

    And sadly, a word that means everything, in the end, means nothing, because there is also nothing that it is not.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Define "New Age Thinking"

    We are all one - except for me: I'm two

    Define "Liberal"

    Ask P.Z. Myers.

    Define "Conservative"

    The opposite of P.Z. Myers - now I wanna know something:

    How do you read and understand the news if these terms are alien to you?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fucking A, Bubba.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Tell me something I can use, like what science blogs are most shit free.

    ReplyDelete
  5. bagoh20,

    Tell me something I can use, like what science blogs are most shit free.

    Well, of course, there's Panda's, and I haven't come across any crap (yet) at the White Coat Underground. Other than that, being almost uniformly liberal, the rest are a grab bag of the "lesser evils" variety.

    Except for Panda's, and maybe some of the anti-AGW sites (note I said "some") I wouldn't say any of 'em can be fully trusted,...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Actually, bagoh20, you just gave me an idea for a post - meet me at TMR2 and I'll have something for you,...

    ReplyDelete

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