10 March, 2006

I'm Pretty Certain I Owe Thanks To Someone For The Sullivan Article.

A quick gander at the Internet before I do some more detailed entries:

THE BBC prints, hot on the heels of the most ironic article ever, an article entitled Can Acupuncture beat Addiction? The BBC's conclusion: yes. Mystery solved!


It is 'nothing new', 'based on ancient Chinese medicine dating back thousands of years', helps with something very sciencey called 'detoxification' and two nonscientists say things. With this kind of evidence no counterargument
needs to be presented, which is fortunate because the Beeb doesn't try.

It would have been irresponsible, surely, to point out that most double blinded clinical studies have failed to show a significant effect greater than placebo – if any - or that its theoretical framework is very silly, as it would bias the choices of rational people against such a treatment; further it would demand a rigorous set of standards for acupuncture that no other alternative medicine lives up to.


ANDREW SULLIVAN quotes...well, probably himself:

What the Islamic world has succeeded in doing is forcing me to decide whether I'm going to side with a US policy which I think is often dirty but is nevertheless open to public scrutiny or an almost medieval, bloodthirsty and closed religious dogma whose intention - and partial achievement - is to undermine my way of life.


Jesus aside, I find little as spiritually fulfilling as a blatantly false dichotomy; the exception perhaps being clearly ludicrously false claims.

Of course Mr Diet et Mon Droit's policy – the one which isn't mediaeval - isn't 'open to public scrutiny' at all. The State Department only recently 'briefly' looked at the States' human rights abuses after intense criticism. The Pentagon has only recently released the names of 300 of its over 500 detainees at Guantanamo Bay after the Associated Press went swinging in with a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit; a helpful reminder that the public don't know anything about hundreds of people the US has detained (though we know that some are citizens of allied countries, that many have been released after it was decided they weren't the 'worst of the worst' after all, and a few children who have reached adulthood in detention,) the reasons it has detained them, the state of the facilities in which it detains them, what crimes (if any) they have commited, their legal rights (just kidding! They're allowed one sorta right!) Then there's the secret CIA prisons and extraordinary rendition, which result in the unknown treatment and secret detention of an unknown number of prisoners. By no means last nor least, domestic wiretapping wasn't exactly public knowledge until it was leaked (a bit of transparency the Justice Department is trying, bless its heart, to rectify.)

The British media and Government are, yet again, behaving in the same appeasing way towards Muslim fundamentalism in our own country


Indeed; the gaoling of extremist cleric Abu Hamza is intended to throw us off the sheer and unmitigated tolerance for Muslim extremism this country embraces. As is the widespread condemnation of the London protests and calls for arrests, or the thousands strong demonstration in London which dwarfed the earlier, nasty one with the jolly placards, which condemned both the cartoons and the reactions of extremists.

THE HUFFINGTON POST is a bit rubbish, really.

WILLIAM DEMBSKI learns of selective breeding, and is amazed.

Ah, but I am being unkind; there is a legitimate controversy here! To present both sides: his commenters seem unable to decide whether he is making an unfunny nonjoke about the already-satirical use of the terms 'intelligent design' in an experiment which just happens to demonstrate the usefulness and predictive power of evolutionary theory, or whether he genuinely did not realise that scientists may have heard about artificial selection, esteemed scientist that he is.

-The Rev. Schmitt.

06 March, 2006

A Crash Course In Irony

Posted without comment.

Oh, alright: my biggest regret with this article is that I will not get to see Ben Goldacre's face when he reads it.

-The Rev. Schmitt.