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October 17, 2004

Global anti-realism

If you haven't already read Suskind's No Doubt, read this essay first. Science and Human Values, by Michael Gilmore. Gilmore is a British physicist. By the summer of 2004 Gilmore the outsider had already discerned what Suskind was observing first-hand.

Some in the White House today believe that they “have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality.” Why, God even talks to them. The administration’s “absolute knowledge” has been the basis of many of their claims, including: the weapons of mass destruction, the Hussein-al Qaeda link, the Hussein-9/11 link, and the evidence for the uranium from Africa to Iraq. Such “absolute knowledge” ensured that the Iraqi people would welcome our solders and establish a secular democracy. Such knowledge never existed. This “absolute knowledge” now provides for the Bush “faith-based” missile defense, to be deployed prior to testing. It appears that this sort of pseudoknowledge is a key ingredient for much of what the present administration has set itself to do. With such “knowledge” the road to Baghdad is becoming our road to Auschwitz. A road paved with arrogance, dogma, secrecy, ignorance, lies, and a “deliberate deafness to suffering.” The suffering shown so starkly in the haunting photos of the torture at Abu Ghraib.


Suskind confirms Gilmore's diagnosis. The Bush administration is hostile not only to science but to rationality, objectivity, and even thought (if it conflicts with instinct). Read the full story here, Without a Doubt [NYT permalink]

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

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Comments

Now I'm really so shrill only the cynics can hear me ;-)

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn

Aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!

I'm no fan of the policies or mannerisms of the Bush administration ... but I wonder if the same people enraged over this aide's comments weren't inspired when RFK quoted GB Shaw:

"Others see things as they are and ask, why? I see dream of things that never were and ask, why not?"

Sure, it's more eloquent and less arrogant than this aide's comments, but I think it expresses the same sentiment.

No, Nick, I think the way the Bushites would phrase it is:

"We see dream of things that never were and say, let's pretend they are and accuse anyone who disagrees of being unpatriotic."

Loneliest campaign rally ever: Scientists for Bush/Cheney '04

What a jolt to realize that George and Osama are cut from the same cloth! They both think they are doing the will of God in the cause of the true religion. They both don't mind killing innocent civilians to achieve their goals. True, Osama set out specifically to kill people, while Bush kills them as collateral damage, but is that such a huge difference? The result is dead inocents, (with many more children on the Iraqi side) no matter how you parse it.

Osama has won. He has turned us into a nation more and more in his image. Before 9-11, we were on the verge of quitting war as an instrument of national policy, but we had the worst possible President in the White house. Brandishing his old time religion of good vs. evil, eye for an eye, one true faith against the infidels, Bush has dragged us back to the middle ages. The Muslims, Christians and Jews are at each other's throats again! When will we ever learn? When will we EVER learn?

Swopa:

Check out this.">http://www.settingtheworldtorights.com">this.

Evidently David Deutsch, the British Quantum Physicist, is a Bush supporter (at least in this universe).

Sorry link didn't post correctly - I meant this site.

Which proves what? There are a lot of nutcases with PhDs on both sides of the political spectrum. And the blog to which Peter points is, um, bloodthirsty? Triumphalist? Viciously right-wing (not conservative)? All of the above, I guess.

There already was a time in world history when religion ruled the land. It was called "The Dark Ages".

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