"Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors."

-Jonas Salk

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Agnotology, Left and Right

To go along with my discovery of the wonderful word "agnotology" (the study of ignorance) in Naomi Orekes' publication record, Deltoid points to a very well written and well organized article on Slate about it, called The Paranoid Style In American Science.

Author Daniel Engber advises moderation in skepticism.

You will see that people tend to deploy vast amounts of skepticism selectively toward things they wish were untrue. Engber sees this in the "Precautionary Principle" every bit as much as in, say, Global Warming do-nothingism. I think he has a very good point.

In the other hand, at least the precautionary types, though muddled, are sincere. Some of the "no such thing as global warming" crowd have jumped over to unstoppablism without pausing to consider the possibility of responsible behavior. At this point I exercise my skepticism that such people ever meant a word of what they said.

I'm just meandering here. Read the article.

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