Ignorance strikes back

Reading and watching the news in the past several days, I’ve had a growing sense of dread that Ignorance and his ally Stupidity are launching a counteroffensive against the Teeming Millions.

Exhibit One: NASA vs. JPL gaffe involving the failure to convert between imperial and metric units of thrust. $125 million+

Exhibit Two: Japanese nuclear fuel processors forget that it’s called critical mass, not critical concentration. Cost, a few dozen innocents, eventually.

Exhibit Three: Much smaller and less expensive mistake. Sombody stowed three brand-new 737 rudders in the wrong spot in Boeing’s Renton assembly plant. They got recycled. $1/2 million.
It seems the only setback the forces of Ignorance have had is the loss of Lt. Quayle.

In each of these cases, the idiocy has not been quick or accidental, but rather an exposure of existing stupidities.

So how much else is lurking? Could it be that Y2K is the Tet Offensive of Ignorance?

This week Sec. Richardson announced that US experts will help the Russians check their nuclear control systems for Y2K bugs… about time !

Alan Greenspan and Steve Ballmer agree that most of the “dot com” bubble is based on a confidence racket!

Where else will it come from? Who else is faking competence? Can Uncle Cecil save us?

We’re doomed.
Not even Unca Cece can hold back the surging tides of ignorance and stupidity.
Consider: on the morning “news” programs, there were a few solid soung bites of news and then the real stuff:
—how to cope w/ in-laws
—starlet plugging movie
—“biographer” defending rotten writing
—star treatment of Reform Party infighting, complete w/ SNL clip.

As the great 60’s parody Civil Defense poster put it, “put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.”

(having a bad day)

The problem with the modern world is that we are over protected. Stupitity is no longer a self limiting condition.

Lvick is correct.

We are the victim of Our own success.
No natural predators…

Course it would help if I spelled stupidity right

Maybe we’re developing our own “predators”. This week, nuclear power stations seem to be the top sapienvorae.

Titanic having the top song and winning the Oscar was the first sign of the apocalypse.


Roachman wrote:

If so, we can all take heart in the fact that the U.S. lost the Tet Offensive. (Er … I think.)

The truth, as always, is more complicated than that.

Even the straight dope message board is a sign of this. We’re heading into the 21st century, and we have constant threads about witchcraft, ufos, homeopathic medicine, etc. ad nauseum. And these are not threads making fun of these things, but serious discussions.

The ability to think clearly and critically is rapidly fading away.

Let’s not forget how evolution is no longer taught in Kansas schools. Creation science is especially annoying because their premise is that they have the answer and all that they need is the data. Plus, potassium-argon dating and other such techniques indicate that the world is much older than the age estimated by Creationists.

Wouldn’t the ignorance of a discussion of witchcraft kind of depend on the angle taken?

I mean, are we talking about New Age-y candle magic and love potions that cost $20 per pound and the user honestly believes will work?

What about witchcraft as the rituals performed by Witches/Wiccans as part of their religion?

Or do you mean the concept fundamentalist Christians have of witchcraft - those Satanists vivisecting cats and eating babies and voting Democrat and all?

Let’s be a little more precise here, please.

“I think he said ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers.’”

How about, ‘The idea that casting spells or performing rituals has any supernatural effect in the real world’? I don’t care if they are Wiccans or believers in the ancient spirit-monkey that lives in my apartment.

I have little knowledge of Wicca. If these ritualistic spells are used for meditation, or to set an atmosphere, or something similar, fine. But if the practitioner actually believes that they can change the material world, it’s time they had a re-aquaintence with the idea that logic and reason are actually important.

And I get the sense that Wiccans actually do believe that, since I’ve seen some comments here along those lines (I seem to recall a Wiccan taking someone to task for casting a ‘love spell’, because of the danger or something like that).

DHanson said:

Having seen the level of your previous posting, DH, it’s probably an exercise in futility to point out that, in other venues, such things are called ‘prayer’, ‘High Mass’, ‘the wedding ceremony’, ‘last rites’, ‘saying grace’,etc.

Yes, it is undoubtedly a bad sign when people started wanting to suppress serious discussion of subjects they have a hard time believing – like evolution, and unidentifiable flying objects.

Tracer: It was sort of a toss-up. Military, the U.S. ultimately kicked ass. From a political view, the North Vietnamese & VC proved they could launch a massive offensive despite the enormous U.S. presence and investment, which led to growing disbelief in the ability of the U.S./ARVN forces to finally prevail. Political support for the war began to gather steam.

As for Y2K: the U.S. will ‘win’ this particular ‘offensive’, I’m sure. Our ‘lifeboat’ is well-stocked and prepared to ride out the storm; it’s all those people who will find themselves in deep, cold water and will cling to the gunwales, possibly swamping us, that still has me worried . . .

The real threat is that people will actually believe that, after the Speaker of the House makes $15K/hr eating breakfast, he can then go into the House Chamber and ‘vote his conscience’, because the people holding the breakfast “didn’t get anything for their money”, so obviously we don’t need campaign finance reform. Yeah. Right.

DIF: The big difference is that one should be testable. Saying grace to honor the supreme being you believe in is an unprovable act - it is outside the realm of science. Casting spells to direct effect things in material, observable ways brings it within the realm of science. If this stuff works, we should be able to test for it.

For the record, I have nothing against any religion, including Wicca. Whatever makes you happy. And I certainly have no desire to suppress discussions of anything. I was merely expressing my belief that the prevalence of their beliefs is a sign that we are losing our ability or desire to think critically.

dhanson: I’m sure it was just an oversight that you left out threads about “Christianity, Judaism, …” that take themselves seriously.

“Cluemobile? You’ve got a pickup…”
OpalCat’s site: http://opalcat.com
The Teeming Millions Homepage: fathom.org/teemingmillions

How about prayer*? I notice you completely ignored that, although it was included in DIF’s list.

*Such as “Please let the Packers win the Super Bowl.” or “Please help so-and-so recover from Disease X.”

Hey, I’ll throw prayer into the list. I’m an equal opportunity slanderer. Although I think maybe the Christians have smartened up a bit in this department, since prayers nowadays are supposed to be more vague, well-being kind of things like, “Lord, please look after him.” Then when the guy gets hit by a cement truck the next day, they can say “The Lord works in mysterious ways. Ours is not to judge.”

What do Wiccans do if they cast a spell and nothing happens? Or are their spells similar to prayers in being vague enough to be untestable?

While we’re at it, let’s add a group everyone here can hate universally - psychics. As in, “Give me $50 and I’ll tell you that your husband is cheating on you.”

Well, I think mankind is EXACTLY as ignorant now as it was 10,000 years ago - for what it’s worth.

Sure, we’ve gained a lot of knowledge. . .but just look at what we lost!