Fractal wrongness

I wish to cast this image into the aether of the net.

Fractal Wrongness

You are not just wrong; you are recursively wrong. The wrongness of every possible iteration of any of your arguments is self-similar with the wrongness of your entire worldview.

This image is adapted from the demotivator poster described on RationalWiki. The caption offered there says: “You are not just wrong. You are wrong at every conceivable level of resolution. Zooming in on any part of your worldview finds beliefs exactly as wrong as your entire worldview.

The sentiment expressed is clever, but I found the caption unwieldy, unlettered and technically incorrect. Fractals are resolution-independent. They scale indefinitely.

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Awesome is genetically modified

I’ve long promised friends to write up my views on genetic engineering. This is the CliffsNotes version. I’ll write something more detailed over summer.

I support the shit out of genetic engineering, and the consumption of genetically modified foods. I dabble in it and I love it where it’s going. I love that today, genetic engineering techniques are orders of magnitude more precise than accepted plant breeding and various mutagenesis techniques.

It’s obviously quite safe. Most food isn’t tested in clinical trials, but genetically modified organisms are tested extensively before being released into the market. Even industry testing is a huge leap from no testing at all. According to various respected independent scientific organisations: in 20 years of testing, by over 500 independent groups, not fucking once in well designed studies has genetically modified food currently on the market been associated with human illness.

I don’t love Monsanto. I don’t love the regulatory environment that ensures that only rich multinationals like Monsanto get to dominate the biotechnology sector. The draconian bureaucracy that chokes biotechnology, largely influenced by manufactured public opposition courtesy of scientifically illiterate moonbat cults like Greenpeace, sets a financially insurmountable hurdle that prevents small, low budget startups (like what I’d love to do to fund my neuroscience education), humanitarian efforts and open source-friendly independent researchers from competing with Big Biotech.

Another obvious problem is the broken patent system. I’m in two minds about it: first, there clearly needs to be restrictions on patenting open source genomes minimally altered with open access sequences available from websites like the Standard Registry of Biological Parts (henceforth just “Parts Registry”); and second, in the case of novel or sophisticated genomes, patenting is probably OK. But patenting should not restrict independent testing. Perhaps firms should be required to donate batches of seeds to registered labs for analysis.

That said, I’m not sure if I believe in compulsory large-scale testing. Very few “synthetic” foods not derived from GMOs are tested at all if they contain no known toxic or illegal compounds. I don’t see much difference between worrying about any unknown chemical reactions between various compounds and those of various sequences of genes. The mere existence of Parts Registry speaks to the precision offered by genetic engineering.

Even the gene gun, criticised for its relative inaccuracy, has been consigned to near-obsolescence due to various high-precision competing technologies (at least, in agricultural biotechnology, it’s still used in human gene therapy with great success).

Such precision for inserting sequences isn’t always necessary to achieve predictable outcomes: recombinant methods offered by viral vectors for gene therapy and even “cruder” methods such as electroporation get the job done.

What people often fail to realise when they go after Monsanto by parroting made up bullshit about genetically modified organisms is that a more open market (though, not totally “free”) conducive to open source and small companies is profoundly anti-corporate. Forget Monsanto, DIY biohacking even has the power to take on Big Pharma, and, by extension, Big Quacka.

It’s taken for granted that conventional agriculture isn’t going to feed 9 billion people. The organic vs. GMO debate, perpetuated by Big Quacka, is fucking stupid. Organic food, generally, offers lower yields for obscene land use. Economical land use is very important, because any land used by humans encroaches on fragile ecosystems. This is why it makes no sense to inadvertently expand farming and explicitly decry cities as taking us away from nature. We need to take up less space if we want to allow ecosystems to thrive.

Organic food may very well play a role in feeding the world, but the ever-advancing field of genetic engineering offers a much better shot. Crops can be tailored for climates, even to withstand levels of city pollution (though I expect that to drop dramatically, if we survive) and to thrive and usher in a revolution of indoor vertical farming. This will combat projected rising food prices (due to global warming and other factors) and make it possible to grow crops where it’s not feasible to do so using other methods. Such efforts are being spearheaded by not-for-profit organisations such as the Mexican International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre.

I hope it’s clear why I frequently call out so-called environmentalists who oppose genetic engineering. Not only do they slow progress in a field that offers novel, powerful solutions to climate change, land use, and so on, but they also work against humanitarian efforts aimed at ameliorating poverty. The most stark, recent example of this is the backlash against golden rice, a theoretically sound and repeatedly proven solution to rampant vitamin A deficiency in third world and developing countries. One can’t help but wonder how many children have died from malnutrition while golden rice, nutrient-enriched cassava and other publicly developed crops remain under lock and key, thanks again to elitist middle class Westerners who really have no excuse for such scientific illiteracy.

Those who have been taken in by denialist literature such as the non-peer-reviewed report/Gish Gallop by EarthOpenSource (Google it, you’ll find it) are invited to read this better document by the European Commission. People concerned with data from long-term animal feeding studies should read this paper (without shooting the messenger, which is too often a convenient excuse for intellectual laziness). And people who thought that Gilles-Eric Séralini found evidence that GMOs cause enormous tumours in rats should look at this (heavy lifting) and/or this. Spoiler alert: his study looks an awful lot like scientific fraud.

(Originally posted as “On genetically engineered food” on my tumblr blog Just Defiance.)

No propaganda please

Ooh, looky here!  Some Aussie cannabis activists have unearthed an interesting study from 2006! Check this shizz out:

Active component of marijuana and Alzheimer’s disease pathology (Hereafter: Eubanks, et al. 2006.)

Yeah, umm, the most excitable of the pro-pot people are jumping on this study as indispootaple proof that cannabis cures/treats/manages Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, I’m for the legalisation of marijuana; but I happen to think that propaganda is self-defeating and destructive, so I’m very much against enabling propagandists who otherwise agree with me on certain issues. That means that sometimes, correction is called for.

Alzheimer’s disease is a currently incurable affliction that slowly kills neurons in many parts of the brain. The first brain structure that Alzheimer’s attacks is the hippocampus, which is where memories are encoded, and this is why most people associate the condition with the dramatic memory loss.

Alzheimer’s presents with catastrophic cell death (obviously) and higher-than-normal levels of amyloid plaque deposits in certain regions of the brain. In healthy people, the death of neurons and the presence of large deposits of amyloid plaque is often a consequence of ageing, but in Alzheimer’s, these harrowing symptoms occur much more rapidly and extensively.

(Click here for a refresher on neurons.)

The study found that pot seems to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in the brain. AChE breaks down unused acetylcholine at the synapse (the inconceivably tiny space between the axon terminal of one neuron and the receptors of another). Acetylcholine is an extremely important neurotransmitter (a chemical signal that affects the polarisation of the receiving neuron, which either provokes or inhibits an action potential); but like anything good, you don’t want too much of it; you need a balance. That’s where AChE comes in.

When AChE activity goes a bit overboard (often due to genetics), excessive accumulations of amyloid plaque start to develop in the brain. This process is called AChE-induced amyloid beta-peptide aggregation. When amyloid beta-peptides a synthesised in healthy brains, they protect against oxidative stress, help regulate cholesterol transport and do other non-threatening thngs; but once again, too much of a good thing can be bad news. Large deposits of these peptides can also result in inflammation, and as above, a brain afflicted by Alzheimer’s is riddled with them.

But correlation does not imply causation. According to the amyloid hypothesis, Alzheimer’s disease is caused by this build-up of brain plaque. This hypothesis doesn’t really hold, though, because a vaccine that clears amyloid plaques was developed and trialed. During stage I trials, it was found that the clearing of amyloid plaque did not have a significant effect on the onset of dementia.

Thus, the thing that cannabis does especially well will reduce the development of a neurological marker of Alzheimer’s disease. Clearly Alzheimer’s is related to amyloid plaques, but we still aren’t sure how. So it would be premature to suggest that this function of cannabis could play a part in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

As I said above, AChE inhibition does mean that more acetylcholine will be present in the synaptic gap during neurotransmission. A little extra acetylcholine is associated with boosts in cognition; so the inhibition of AChE is one way to boost cognition. There are already drugs on the market, and such drugs (like Exelon) are often used to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. So could pot do that too?

Well, no. Cannabis is quite different.

Acute intoxication with cannabis comes with a disruption of short-term memory for as long as the high lasts. This effect is due to the inhibition of the release of neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine, in the hippocampus. In fact, researchers have remarked that the extent of neural inhibition in the hippocampus for the length of the high actually resembles a temporary hippocampal lesion.

The consumption of too much pot over the long term does make you stupid. Worse, doses of marijuana to equal doses of similar drugs used in Alzheimer’s treatments would lead to THC-induced hippocampal deterioration, which is what Alzheimer’s disease does on its own. Moreover, if you read Eubanks, et al. with a fairly comprehensive dosage chart handy, it’s clear that you would have to consume a heavy dose of THC in one session to achieve a substantial inhibition of AChE enzymes. No, that’s not a challenge.

So the cannabis you smoke actually won’t do shit for Alzheimer’s patients. It’s kinda like pouring a little bit of gasoline on a house fire.

But targeted drugs derived from cannabis might. Even so, the work of Eubanks, et al. offers no argument in favour of legalising cannabis. To claim it does is simply misleading.

So can we stop pretending that cannabis is some kind of magical wonder drug suppressed by Big Pharma? It’s not. It’s just a relatively safe recreational drug with some notable medicinal uses. That should be our platform.

Now, don’t get me wrong: if you live in my state, join that group and support them. (It should go without saying, but: you don’t have to be a pothead to support legalisation. I’m not a user, I just happen to believe that proscribing a victimless source of pleasure while tolerating more destructive sources of pleasure is simply wrong.)

My RedBubble store

Support this blog by buying this awesome gear! My 10% goes into the blog and bills and the like.

This fine apparel manifests in standard t-shirts, in a v-neck style, as long sleeve t-shirts, as “girly” fitted t-shirts or as hoodies.

The following designs are currently available:

  • “Aussie liberals for a liberal Liberal Party” + anti-conservative John Stuart Mill quote. (Two versions.)
  • “Not boring.” (White on dark.)
  • “There is no God.” (Black on light.)
  • “ANTITHEIST” (White on dark.)
  • “nuclear energy is green energy” + green atom. (Light+green on dark.)
  • “neurogeek” + resting potential neuron diagram. (Two versions.)
  • Dopamine molecule. (Black on light)
  • Norepinephrine molecule. (Black on light)
  • “green energy” + atom (Black+green on light.)
  • “your god not mine” + various cult symbols (two versions)
  • “It only took 13.7 billion years to make this.” (two versions)
  • DEAD THINKERS 1: Erwin Schrödinger’s head + “Erwin Schrödinger” (only available in black).
  • “FREETHINKER” (white on dark)
  • DEAD THINKERS 2: Charles Darwin
  • DEAD THINKERS 3: Wilhelm Wundt (possibly the only Wilhelm Wundt clothing item in existence).
  • “godless liberal” (two versions)

More on the way! Check it out!

Why it’s OK to hate religion

Religion, by any precise definition, is based on faith, and faith is about preserving assumptions at all costs.

Evidentialist philosopher Peter Boghossian defines faith as “pretending to know things you don’t know”; so by definition, faith entails what the late Christopher Hitchens termed “the surrender of the mind”. The cost of faith is reason. Wilfully surrendering one’s reason to the dictates of a higher authority is not only stupefying, it also sets a dangerous social precedent.

My argument against faith is a consequentialist one: when polite society is conditioned to extend “politeness” to deluded assumptions about the nature of reality, the venom of epistemic relativism has been injected.

For this reason, hating religion is not just OK, it is practically a moral imperative. Religion is by far the most obvious manifestation of the faith disease.

In response to one of my recent attacks on the ejaculations of a faith head, I was told something to the effect of “but that’s just your opinion, and you will respect mine.”

Why should I? And why should anyone? That perverted wisp of wisdom emanated from someone who believes that holding off her child’s vaccinations is a just and socially responsible thing to do, which it isn’t. Perhaps such a potentially infanticidal sentiment is not quite as extreme as those motivating acts of faith-based terrorism, but it does certainly resonate with Voltaire’s timeless dictum:

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

As I’ve written elsewhere, opinions that are not informed by evidence are worthless opinions. Religious convictions eschew evidence entirely; they write any empirical evidence that doesn’t gel out of consideration.

Occasionally, in the “pluralistic” media, we are forced to endure the cognitive putrification of some disingenuous religious figure distorting science to justify his brand of faith-based garbage, but we should always consider the myriad things this professional rationaliser is not saying.

Religion is based on faith, and for that reason, it’s OK to hate religion. This contempt should extend to more liberal interpretations of the various religions too, because such prescriptive worldviews remain grounded in faith. The theocrat is right to assert that her faith should be afforded respect when the faith of the liberal theist is considered impervious to scrutiny.

If we wish to distinguish between “acceptable” and “unacceptable” religious dogmas, which criteria should we employ? Almost without exception, the various holy books of the world claim that the normative delusions they describe are absolute truths. Their doctrines are not mutually inclusive. Individual theists may hold beliefs that roughly align with liberal democratic values, but their motivations are still delusional.

Of course, religiosity should not rob anyone of the right to vote or to contribute to our discourse; but a person’s faith, like their politics, should not be exempt from scrutiny. Asking Mitt Romney whether or not he adheres to some of his church’s more contemptible doctrines should be a necessity, not a taboo.

Scientific knowledge, and the scientific approach to knowledge, on the other hand, is truly democratic. If we agree that science is about uncovering reality, anyone who cares enough to do the background reading can contribute. The culture of science is distinguished in other ways too: it’s worth noting that string theorists do not engage in holy wars with other quantum gravity theorists.

When made acceptable, the faith precedent rears its ugly head elsewhere in society.

I spend a lot of time arguing with global warming deniers, and ultimately their arguments will come down to “I have a right to my opinion”. Yes, they sure do, and I’d hate to disabuse them of their rights, no matter how much and in what manner they abuse those rights. But I don’t think their opinions deserve undue respect.

The precedent that everyone’s assumptions should be exempt from criticism in public space runs counter to free speech. Free speech is supposed to be a social mechanism for the self-correction intrinsic to modern liberal democracy.

The public have a right to know the truth, so it follows that the merchants of comfortable delusions deserve to be ridiculed and alienated. Free speech thus provides the rope for the Chris Moncktons and Rush Limbaughs of the world to publicly hang themselves with.

The reason we should not disabuse people of their faith, so we’re told, is that faith brings people comfort. Comfortable delusions are virulent infectious memes, and they do harm.

When confronted with a serial killer, nobody confuses tolerating with enabling. I think that the only reason people don’t readily equate enabling religion with enabling serial killers is due to the average homo sapiens’ inveterate environmental and temporal cognitive myopia. It’s the same myopia that causes people to stop and save a child who is drowning in front of them at the expense of their designer shoes, but to rarely even consider that giving money to alleviate poverty elsewhere in the world is equivalent.

On a personal level, I find the idea of healthy people with access to adequate nutrition and shelter pretending to know things they don’t know for a little extra comfort to be the height of self-indulgence. It takes a special kind of solipsism to take solace in the notion that something is looking out for a First World thirty-something, while millions of children who live in abject poverty die horribly every year.

Less seriously, for many people, use of the word “religion” is suspiciously correlated with a sudden transient drop in the user’s IQ score. Since this essay was originally posted, I have been told that I should identify my religious affiliation as “consequentialist” on the Australian census. I find the notion that the idea of minimising the palpable, measurable phenomenon of human suffering is on equal ground with childish, solipsistic delusions about reality more than a little distasteful.

Religion is like junk food. As psychiatrist Andy Thomson has pointed out, the evolutionary psychology of religion is almost analogous to the evolutionary psychology of junk food. The reason we modern humans like junk food, despite the fact that it’s so bad for us, is an evolutionary one. Sugars, salt and saturated fats were hard to come by in prehistoric times, but they provided fast energy and nutrients, so our taste buds evolved to seek them out.

Humans have succeeded as a species because we also evolved to spot patterns, and this trait has allowed us to refine our resource-gathering skills. Today, junk foods are available in quantities sufficient to choke our arteries to death; but still, we eat them because we can reach them, just as our ancestors would have done.

As with junk food, humans are apt to become pattern-greedy. Religion provides humans with the comforting illusion of an invisible intentional stance to attribute to the random events that make up our lives.

Clinging to religion also gives us a sense of relief from the knowledge of our impending death, which seems to be an unfortunate consequence of our evolved conscious self-awareness. But if we really get to live forever in some magical hereafter, why bother taking responsibility for the future and improving life here, on this planet?

Finally, it gives the faithful the illusion of a kind of moral safety net; we know that we are in the Higher Order’s hands, and that’s why we don’t have to take responsibility for our prejudices. Southern Baptists don’t hate gay people, God does. Psychopaths can defer to the supernatural and be forgiven. Ethics are predicated on delusional whims and wishful thinking rather than a careful consideration of the effects of one’s actions on the well-being of others. This is no way to think about building a just society.

And the faith of global warming denial, like religious faith, brings people mental (and often material) comfort. It is predicated on the faith that the resources on our planet are inexhaustible, designated as ours for the taking, and that our use of them must be inconsequential — these assumptions absolutely fly in the face of the evidence.

These delusions are again rooted in our evolutionary history: the smaller tribes of our Pleistocene ancestors could not possibly exhaust all of the resources available to them. Greed then was indeed good.

The Higher Order, or the conveniently simplistic Greater Good that buttresses the faith underlying global warming denialism can be religious or political, but usually both. In any case, it is a comfortable delusion based on the denial of evidence. The precedent for such harmful denialism was set by our cultural respect for the odious institution of faith.

I submit that respecting religion does not respect the religious individual. The health department has no right to ban junk food, but it does have a right to circulate evidence-based dietary recommendations. (And maybe proposing extra taxes on fatty foods, but that’s a discussion for another post.)

Secularists should not make the condescending and paternalistic assumption that religious people cannot live without their comfortable delusions. Everyone has a right to the best truth the evidence provides, and everyone who participates in a modern democracy has an obligation to the rest of society to at least be familiar with what constitutes the current best guess at the truth.

Faith therefore surrenders the modern mind to seductive delusions, to evolutionary hyper-stimuli. It is a fearful retreat to the terrified infancy of our species. The comparatively limited life spans of our ancestors have written a dangerous myopia into our genes; a disabling affliction that we must overcome.

Atavistic convictions only serve to placate yesterday’s evolutionary needs and they are not sufficient to address today’s problems. Evolution, with its blind brutality, does not intentionally furnish its products with the predispositions necessary for science or philosophy.

Those things are side-effects, perhaps glitches, emerging from our pattern-seeking minds. We can therefore ratiocinate, and today, we must ratiocinate if we want to overcome our evolutionary baggage. The ability to think is a happy accident, and we need to seize upon it to survive. We have to work at it and get better at it. Reason must become human nature.

All faith-based beliefs must be eradicated. We shouldn’t even say that we have “faith” in someone else’s abilities — instead, we should say that we have “confidence”, because confidence implies evidence. Even trust among adults typically involves the sort of basic reasoning and scepticism that faith must eschew.

We should not respect comfortable delusions aired in public space. We should be allowed to express hatred towards the idea of religion, and the notion of faith generally. For if we care about democracy, we should detest the precedent that such “toleration” sets. And we should respect our religious peers enough to tell them that their faith-based assertions poison our discourse.

Dr William Murdoch (1805 – 1866)

This post doesn’t have much to do with the topics I normally write about. The recent (and thoroughly puzzling) furore over Richard Dawkins’ fifth great-grandfather being a slave owner is probably to blame for what follows.

In today’s episode of my quotidian procrastinations, I was going through my family tree, which was prepared by my cousin Michael Bailey. Because there’s some 142 generations, I decided to start from my name and trace up to my maternal grandmother, and then to follow the her direct paternal line as far back as I could.

My grandmother is a bit of a proto-hippy (in a good way); a semi-lapsed Catholic who believes in God, ghosts and reincarnation; she’s also fun, genuinely open-minded, and very witty; and she is practically responsible for raising me when I was going to kindergarten. (So naturally, I mean no disrespect.) She has often said that I should look into her family tree because my “great, great, great, great granddad” is where my “genes must come from.” (She used the term ‘reincarnation’ before that, but curiously changed it once I told her I was an atheist.)

So I did, and I found this ‘memoir’, written by my third great-uncle about my fourth great-grandfather Dr William Murdoch, who, if there’s anything to be said for genetic homeopathy, I’m flattered to think she was talking about this guy.

Dr Murdoch was a polymath, a polyglot, a public advocate for liberal values, and other things. That’s pretty awesome, and I’m humbled to know that four of the 128 genes in my genome – about 3.1% or so – come from him, so my grandmother deserves credit for being partially correct. I’m just hoping those genes weren’t the ones that contributed to the hemorrhagic stroke that killed him at 61.

A cleaned up version of the briefish memoir is reproduced under the fold below (simply because there’s no real reason that you should be forced to sit through something as potentially self-centred as a relatively unimportant fact about my genealogy), but I’ve endeavoured to clean it up – though I tried to leave the grammar and punctuation intact – because it looks like the product of an OCR scan of a PDF document that was scanned from really old paper. You can find the original here and elsewhere. (Naturally, the page for my name and all of my living relatives is password protected.) My immediate and extended family, as well as my Google-armed distant cousins, might find this interesting.

Before we continue, I should add that Adam and Eve would be my 106th great-grandparents; and Dr Murdoch’s sins were two generations away from being visited upon me. Which is good I suppose, because from this, I gather that he wasn’t a particularly religious man.

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Free market Lysenkoism

Trofim Lysenko (1898 – 1976) worked under Joseph Stalin as the director of Soviet biology. He was a remarkably egregious pseudoscientist whose claim to fame was a technique he termed ‘vernalization’, which promised to quadruple crop yields for the struggling collectivised Soviet agriculture sector.

Lysenko took his cues from the ideas of Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin (1855-1935), an honourable member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. In a characteristically extensive academic propaganda campaign, the Soviet regime sold Michurin as the father of so-called Soviet biology, which was considered superior to the ‘capitalist’ (and accurate) theory of Mendelian genetics.

The Soviets believed that adopting Lysenko’s agricultural practices, they would be able to fight off famine and demonstrate the greatness of the Soviet social model to the world. Questioning Lysenko’s theories was seen as an act of sedition; sceptics were smeared as bourgeois fascists. This is not to say that the people behind the Soviet propaganda machine didn’t believe in Lysenkoism – most of them probably did. Today, most of Lysenko’s research is rightly considered fraudulent; junk science manufactured to support unstable and paranoid politics.

Lysenko and his Soviet comrades frequently publicly decried proponents of evidence-based biology as ‘fly-lovers’, ‘people haters’, and ‘wreckers’. Mendelian genetics was seen as an impediment to communist productivity and national progress; a pitiful manifestation of Malthusian capitalist nay-saying.

Now, the term ‘Lysenkoism‘ is used to refer to the distortion of science to support a particular political ideology.

Yesterday’s leak of thoroughly incriminating internal documents from the Heartland Institute (check out the source) got me thinking – I mean about more than the fact that nine documents contained a hell of a lot to worry about compared to the tepid contents of the thousands of emails and hundreds of documents that made up the entire ‘climategate’ package. (But that is worth pointing out.) We also already knew that climate denialism was little more than a racket.

It actually reminded me of a point that had always seemed so obvious to me, but that I rarely see discussed. It stems from the fact that anthropogenic global warming deniers will often call mainstream climate science ‘Lysenkoism’ in the media. The obvious question to ask is: who are the ones skewing science for politics? Certainly Al Gore is no central-planning socialist.

What do almost all of the AGW deniers and lukewarmists have in common? Let us list some names, and we’ll see if we can isolate a common variable:

Penn Jilette; Matt Stone; Trey Parker; Alex Jones; Alan Jones; Christopher Monckton; Andrew Bolt; S.E. Cupp; Anthony Watts; Glenn Beck; Ron Paul; Matt Ridley; Bjørn Lomborg; the staff of (the unfortunately named) media outlet Reason TV; the signatories of this letter

The answer? An infatuation with the so-called free market. Really, check Google; or better yet, read some of their books.

Even die-hard fans of the free market know that if scientists are right about anthropogenic global warming, effective solutions will necessarily begin with top-down market intervention. Moreover, the fact of global warming also contradicts the ideal that free trade, unfettered by oversights, can only be a good thing for humanity. People who are committed to ideas – especially utopian political ideas – tend to get a bit clingy.

Former doubter Michael Shermer explicated this sentiment when he came out as accepting climate science. To wit:

Nevertheless, data trump politics, and a convergence of evidence from numerous sources has led me to make a cognitive switch on the subject of anthropogenic global warming.

Though, later on he did add some free market caveats.

Let’s watch Chris Monckton push for an Australian Fox News:

His talk of discrediting climate science is firmly within the context of promoting the free market. Interesting, no?

And this can be found on the Heartland Institute’s About page:

Mission: Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.

We can easily note a clear trend of one of humanity’s greatest achievements in science (ie, figuring out what could kill most of us before it happens) being subverted, corrupted and bastardized for political purposes. So, apparently, for many, data does not trump politics. To disseminate global warming denialism, whether knowingly or unknowingly, is the praxis of free market Lysenkoism.

Practically every single prolific climate change sceptic utilizes propaganda originating from someone who has some connection the Heartland Institute. The kind of media manipulation for dissemination of discredited theories, paying off scientists and, the cherry atop this outrageously pernicious pie, promotion of the indoctrination of school children in the discipline of junk science, all expressly advocated in the Heartland Institute’s documents, leave me wondering why anyone in their right mind could continue to take the global warming denial/dilution project seriously.

I do mean to write up my developed take on the free market in the near future, but I’m a little busy for the moment. In the meantime, I’d like to urge the free market cadre who are responsible for most of my hate mail, and the more well-spoken and intelligent free market advocates who have raised the issue of my blog in real life, to do something to quell the disturbing trend of Lysenkoism flourishing among their colleagues. It’s making you all look ridiculous.

You can read more about the Heartland leaks themselves herehere and here (especially for Australians). Nothing on any of the Australian Murdoch newspaper websites, though.