Tag Archives: ignorance

What the Heck Does X-Times-Less Mean?

22 Nov

Have you noticed, as I have, that the phrase “x times less” seems to be coming into vogue?  I see it in ads, in marketing campaigns, even in the national news broadcasts on TV.  Where in the world does this come from?  I just wrote a piece this morning on the dumbing down of education, but now this follow-up has come to mind again.

Have we become so ignorant that we cannot deal with someone saying “80% less than”, or “lower by two-thirds”, or “a quarter of the price”?

If we have a six-times reduction of something, will someone please tell me how much we have?


Should It Really Be “Game Over” for Akins?

30 Aug

I’d like to ask when it became more acceptable to vote for a liar and a thief (the essence of the charges against McCaskall) than to vote for someone who is simply ignorant in one particular subject area. 

What does it say about our society if the voters are less outraged by a significant lack of ethical behavior than by a display of ignorance about rape?  It’s not like Akins, as Senator, can single-handedly effect any change to the law of the land that will fit his [previous?] understanding of rape vs legitimate rape vs pregnancy odds, etc. 

 As long as Akins’ weird belief is buried in a body of 100 senators, I’m not too worried.  I’ll bet a lot of those jokers up there have some beliefs that would literally shock us. 

 And what about all the seniors out there who still believe that a Romney-Ryan administration will take away their Medicare?  Are they being any less ignorant than Akins?  It seems there is plenty of ignorance to go around – including my own, no doubt.

 It’s also kind of like Romney and Mormonism.  A lot of “ignorant” people say they will not vote for a Mormon, and most people are completely ignorant of what Mormonism really is – including those who won’t vote for one.  On the other hand, most of us realize that even if we can’t support Mormonism as a mainstream Christian faith (not that they want to be considered mainstream), a President Romney would not have the power to try to convert America to Mormonism from the White House.

By the way, I saw where one essayist asked a “fair and balanced” question in an anti-Akins piece:  If the probability of pregnancy is basically the same when raped as when consensually having sex, why do doctors recommend that women who are having trouble conceiving try to relax more during intercourse?  Are those doctors nearly as ignorant as Akins?

Random Thoughts from a Close Observer

28 Jul

Another excellent piece by Thomas Sowell.  A collection of observations, the totality of which can be found at www.Creators.com

 Dr. Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.  A black conservative economist (a rare breed), he has published several excellent books and essay collections.

 Some excerpts from this column:  [Bolding is mine]

 Random thoughts on the passing scene:

Even squirrels know enough to store nuts, so that they will have something to eat when food gets scarce. But the welfare state has spawned a whole class of people who spend everything they get when times are good, and look to others to provide for their food and other basic needs when times turn bad.  .  .  .

Two reports came out in the same week. One was from the Pentagon, saying that, in just a few years, Iran will be able to produce not only a nuclear bomb but a missile capable of carrying it to the United States. The other report said that the American Olympic team has uniforms made in China. This latter report received far more attention, both in Congress and in the media.

People who lament gridlock in Washington, and express the pious hope that Democrats and Republicans would put aside their partisan conflicts, and cooperate to help the economy recover, implicitly assume that what the economy needs is more meddling by politicians, which is what brought on economic disaster in the first place. (Skeptics can read “The Housing Boom and Bust.”)

Racism is not dead, but it is on life support — kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as “racists.”  .  .  .  .

Those who talk as if more people going to college is automatically a Good Thing seldom show much interest in what actually goes on at college — including far less time spent by students studying than in the past, and a proliferation of courses promoting a sense of grievance, entitlement or advanced navel-gazing and breast-beating.

One of the most dangerous trends of our times is making the truth socially unacceptable, or even illegal, with “hate speech” laws.  It is supposed to be terrible, for example, to call an illegal alien an “illegal alien” or to call an Islamic terrorist an “Islamic terrorist.” When the media refer to “undocumented” workers or to violence committed by “militants,” who is kidding whom — and why?  .  .  .  .

Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Then he proceeded to generate fear among businesses for years on end, with both his anti-business rhetoric and his anti-business policies. Barack Obama is repeating the same approach and getting the same results — namely, an agonizingly slow economic recovery, as investors hang on to their money, instead of risking it in a hostile political environment.  .  .  .

There seems to be something “liberating” about ignorance — especially when you don’t even know enough to realize how little you know. Thus an administration loaded with people who have never run any business is gung-ho to tell businesses what to do, as well as gung-ho to tell the medical profession what to do, lenders whom to lend to, and the military how to fight wars.

[End of excerpts] 

Anything to add?


Destroying History: The Wages of Ideology and Ignorance

19 Jul

Very good column in the Jewish World Review by Victor Davis Hanson.  Column is titled “Blowing Up History”, and reminds us that lack of respect for history, tolerance, and practicality is not just the domain of religious zealots.  The full column can be found at  http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0712/hanson071912.php3

 Excerpts:    [Bolding is mine; content in brackets [] is mine]

 In the Arabic media, there are reports that Muslim clerics .  .  .  are now agitating to demolish the Egyptian pyramids.  .  .  .  [T]he Pharaohs’ monuments represent “symbols of paganism” from Egypt’s pre-Islamic past and therefore must vanish.

Don’t dismiss such insanity so easily. Mali Islamists are currently destroying the centuries-old mausoleums of Sufi-Muslim saints in the city of Timbuktu .. .. .. . But perhaps the most recent regrettable Islamist attack on the past was the Taliban’s 2001 dynamiting  .  .  .  of the huge twin 6th-century A.D. statues of Buddha carved into a cliff .  .  .  in Afghanistan. “We are destroying the statues,” Taliban spokesmen .  .  .  bragged, “in accordance with Islamic law, and it is purely a religious issue.”

Ideologically driven and historically ignorant violence is not just an Islamist monopoly. Sometimes postmodern, politically correct Westerners can be every bit as zealous .  .  .  .  One of the joys of visiting California’s Yosemite Valley is a series of historic arched bridges .  .  .  on the valley floor. All are used daily, appreciated by thousands of visitors each summer, and now are listed as endangered treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Environmental zealots in the National Park Service are now proposing to demolish all three bridges, motivated by their pie-in-the-sky dreams .  .  .  . To paraphrase the Taliban, these green fundamentalists would probably believe that the bridges are “symbols of humanism” and their destruction is “purely an environmental issue.”

 Again, don’t laugh. A petition circulated by an environmental group is forcing the city of San Francisco — in a state .  .  .  with a $17 billion budget shortfall — to hold a November referendum on a proposal to blow up the historic O’Shaughnessy Dam .  .  .  .  That .  .  .   early-20th-century water and power project still supplies San Francisco and the South Bay with as much as 85 percent of its water, while providing the city with 400 megawatts of clean electrical power, and providing Central Valley farms and towns with irrigation and flood control. Where the billions of dollars would come from to dynamite the vast dam, penstocks, pipelines and powerhouse complex and to clean up the ensuing mess, how the green electricity would be replaced, and how the Bay Area’s millions of residents would find their daily water are questions that matter little to ideologues who believe the aboriginal valley of Hetch Hetchy can be reborn without man’s baleful touch.

What do these contemporary wars against the past have in common? One shared trait is the power of ideological zealotry, whether religious or environmental, to trump all questions of practicality, historical preservation and reverence for prior generations. The zealot’s version of purity, and only his version, matters.  .  .  .

[I]t is only because water so easily flows from San Francisco faucets, and power is a matter of flicking a switch — both impossible in 1913 when a growing San Francisco was short on clean water and newfound electricity — that today’s green imams have the latitude to dream of their own version of a pure and uncontaminated paradise.

A general historical ignorance among the public at large plays a role, too. Just as fundamentalist madrassas pound dogma into the heads of students without any historical appreciation of the richness and variety of all religions in the early Middle East, so too have politically driven courses in our own universities crowded out broad classes in history. Students in our own versions of the madrassas can recite all the commandments of their own sacred green texts, but they know very little about the nation’s past — and almost nothing about the constant poverty, physical ordeal and, yes, early death that our forefathers struggled against to ensure that we might not.

Beware of the wages of professed purity, whether religious or environmental — whether it targets a mausoleum in Timbuktu or a stone arched bridge in Yosemite.

 [End of excerpt]

Anything to add?