Rules of engagement | Bleader

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Rules of engagement

Posted By on 02.01.07 at 03:10 PM

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Alon Levy at Abstract Nonsense generalizes on what it takes to be rational: "A good rule of thumb about any scientific issue is that you’re not allowed to disagree with mainstream scientific opinion unless you’ve studied the field in sufficient depth to have a serious, intelligent conversation with an expert."

And then he gets specific:

"1. No matter what your views on fat acceptance or body image are, you must accept that obesity is a major medical problem.

"2. No matter what your views on smoking laws are, you must accept that first- and second-hand smoking both cause lung cancer.

"3. No matter what your views on race and class are, you must accept that IQ is heritable and measures intelligence fairly decently. At the same time, you must accept that the authors of The Bell Curve have no idea what they’re talking about.

"4. No matter what your views on gender roles are, you must accept that there’s a genetic or hormonal component, as well as a huge environmental one.

"5. No matter what your views on physics are, you must accept that string theory is a sound scientific theory.

"6. No matter what your views on the Kyoto Protocol are, you must accept that global warming is real and anthropogenic and will cause widespread ecological disruption if left unabated."

Shorter version: If you don't want to do the study time, don't do the crime.

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