Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Through Thick and Thin, Problems Inside Problems, and a Movie Review

with 3 comments

Why have I not been posting regularly? Short answer: Bad shoulder, bad computer, bad attitude. The first has turned me into a cripple in almost all walks of life. It’s healing, but slower than I hoped. My computer is freezing up regularly, trying to get to the bottom of that. And as part of my recent massive life changes, I realized I was using writing to avoid dealing with people. Sigh. So I’m spending a lot more time interfacing with other people rather than interfacing with my blog. As the forces in my life continue to rebalance themselves I expect I will eventually blog more, especially since all this change has given me new insights into the world and how people think.

One of my recent revelations is that a lot of people get their world view entirely from their own personal experience. For example I was in a  group discussion and the topic of the lunar effect came up. That’s the idea that there are more crimes committed, mental hospital admissions, etc on the night of the full moon. It’s an idea that scientists have investigated at great length, and never found any actual correlation in real life. Yet every person in the group fervently believed it, and cited their own “experience” as “proof” that the lunar effect was real. In another case I brought up the fact that working around horses was a very dangerous occupation, and one woman vehemently disagreed with me … and cited her long family association with horses as “proof.” I could quote all the NIOSH statistics I wanted to at her, but it didn’t matter, her world view came entirely from her own experience. I dropped out of the group, there’s no point “debating” with people who put more weight in their own experience that massive objective studies, collections of data, and statistics. That’s not to say one shouldn’t be very leery of statistics and studies in certain contexts, especially if the person presenting them as evidence has an agenda. Sigh. In any event I know this is sort of codicil to recent posts I have made, but see first paragraph, things are gonna be a bit chaotic in here for awhile. Doug’s JumbleWorld.

In a follow up to my CEOs as psychopaths post, I came across this little article: Is your favorite politician a sociopath? I wouldn’t take the article too seriously, but it does point out that it is very sociopathic behavior for politicians to get caught blatantly abusing their office, and then completely denying any wrongdoing no matter how much evidence there is. People for the most part wouldn’t tolerate behavior like that in their friends and loved ones, yet they can be remarkably forgiving of politicians that do the same. Go figure. And in a  delicious little bit of synchronicity, I went to the BBC news page, and the top headline is Gordon Brown testifying in the Iraq Inquiry that he still stands 100% behind the decision to go to war in Iraq, claiming it was the “right” thing to do. In the real world, it’s long ago been shown that the idea that Saddam had WMDs and was plotting some nefarious attack with them was baloney no matter how thin you slice it. Additionally the “war of liberation” in Iraq killed, maimed, or displaced about a quarter of Iraq’s population …  the worst humanitarian crisis in the middle east since the partition of Palestine in 1948. I’m pretty sure that if something like that happened to the USA or Britain, most people would agree that it might not have been the best idea. Yet despite the ghastly cost of the war to Iraq, and the complete absence of WMDs, it was still a good idea? Jesus wept.

Moving right along, I watched the recent movie 2012 last night. (Yes, I lost a bet.) Kinda fun in a frenetic kind of way, but my God, the science and physics. It’s beyond appalling, they use all these scientific words, but it’s just window dressing. It’s like if someone wanted some foreign language speech in a movie, and they just picked words out of a foreign language and strung them together. It might sound cool, but to someone who understood the language, it would be just gibberish. Maybe it’s always been this bad, it just bothers me more because I’ve become more aware recently just how widespread scientific scientific illiteracy is in the USA. Movies like this aren’t the cause, but they aren’t helping. Especially since it wouldn’t be that hard to make the science in the movie a whole lot more palatable, but they didn’t even try. Oh well, fun movie for what it is. I actually watch a  lot of stupid movies and TV, I mean, when I’m relaxing, might as well relax my brain as well and just enjoy. I’m going to do as much of that as possible this weekend.

And yes, my spell checker has somehow defaulted to American English. It looks strange to me too, problems within problems, that’s my life now. Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image is Public Domain under US copyright law as in was created in 1850. Credit: David Roberts, 1796-1864. It’s a a painting titled “The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem.” This occurred in 70AD during the First Jewish-Roman War. It is a neat image and I chose it because it obliquely refers to both 2012 and the invasion and destruction of Iraq. Iraq is number six and dropping on the most recent Failed State Index, not to mention the continuing violence, just in case anyone is interested.)


Written by unitedcats

March 5, 2010 at 11:14 am

Posted in Berkeley, Movies, Politics, War

3 Responses

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  1. Hmmm….I feel ya, people seem to be more proud of their bad decisions, labeling them as “tough choices” that “had to be made” when actually they did not, Gordo probably thinks he deserves a medal (and he will probably get one).

    As for stupid science stuff in the movies, I think that the movie biz is forced to dumb them down so the idiot public will not get any “crazy” ideas and the producers won’t get slaped with a lawsuit because some dumbass saw something in a movie.

    Also the mentality seems to be you have to be a superhero, have some special geek talent, or go to school for years and become a peer reviewed “whatever” to understand anything more complicated than driving a car. Its like people are being told they are idiots by the way things are presented to them and they fall into it, the popularity of the phrase “I don’t know” is no doubt more popular than it ever has been.
    In short, movie producers know people think of themselves as idiots and so they treat them accordingly. Idiocy is promoted as a general trait of the public

    “if your an average Joe, you are most likely too dumb to understand”

    and everybody seems to agree… lol….



    March 5, 2010 at 2:39 pm

  2. Good comment pyrodin. Just because you aren’t a scientist doesn’t mean anything scientific in nature is beyond you’re understanding, or because you’re not an engineer doesn’t mean you can’t have a good working knowledge of mathematics. Particularly in college and maybe even on the high school level (its been a while since I was in high school) people get pigeon holed into their careers at the cost of learning anything that doesn’t directly apply. While you certainly want to be prepared for you’re career its also important to have a solid ability to learn and reason on multiple levels to be a functioning and contributing member of society, not to mention life is more fulfilling and interesting that way.

    Hope you’re shoulder heals up quick Doug, no fun being injured.

    Josh V

    March 6, 2010 at 12:07 pm

  3. I watched 2012 last night instead of the Oscars too but not with Doug. They really do have neutrino detectors in deep mines and the activity does pick up when solar storms happen. Neutrinos are just a by product of fusion reactions. The science got weird when they said the neutrinos turned into a form of microwave energy which caused the earth’s core to heat up. It was a stretch but so was the whole movie. I really like Woody Harrelson’s character.


    March 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm

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