What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 14, 2017

T-Minus 6 days Until The Beginning Of The Trump Presidency (Facts, Evidence, Reason And Logic)

Donald Trump will be sworn in in a under a week.  As we ponder that panic, let's look back at a few episodes from the past 8 years - all with the understanding that Trump would never/could never be able to accomplish any of it.

After the panic, we should ponder what we're losing.

May 15, 2015.

In a Commencement Address at Rutgers, President Obama said:
Facts, evidence, reason, logic, an understanding of science -- these are good things.  These are qualities you want in people making policy. These are qualities you want to continue to cultivate in yourselves as citizens. That might seem obvious. That's why we honor Bill Moyers or Dr. Burnell.

We traditionally have valued those things. But if you were listening to today’s political debate, you might wonder where this strain of anti-intellectualism came from. So, Class of 2016, let me be as clear as I can be. In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It's not cool to not know what you're talking about. That's not keeping it real, or telling it like it is. That's not challenging political correctness. That's just not knowing what you're talking about. And yet, we've become confused about this.

Look, our nation’s Founders -- Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson -- they were born of the Enlightenment. They sought to escape superstition, and sectarianism, and tribalism, and know-nothingness. They believed in rational thought and experimentation, and the capacity of informed citizens to master our own fates. That is embedded in our constitutional design. That spirit informed our inventors and our explorers, the Edisons and the Wright Brothers, and the George Washington Carvers and the Grace Hoppers, and the Norman Borlaugs and the Steve Jobses. That's what built this country.
But when our leaders express a disdain for facts, when they’re not held accountable for repeating falsehoods and just making stuff up, while actual experts are dismissed as elitists, then we’ve got a problem.
And yet:
Even though ten years earlier, the science was clear:
This eighth and final report of the Immunization Safety Review Committee examines the hypothesis that vaccines, specifically the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and thimerosal-containing vaccines, are causally associated with autism. The committee reviewed the extant published and unpublished epidemiological studies regarding causality and studies of potential biologic mechanisms by which these immunizations might cause autism.

The committee concludes that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. The committee also concludes that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.
Except that there's no evidence to actually back it up.

And we already know about Trump's fact-free claims about the thousands of Arabs celebrating 9/11 in New Jersey and, of course, the Chinese origins of climate science.

Ignorance is not a virtue.

Ponder that as you ponder the next few years.