Gimme some truth," demanded John Lennon, declaring himself sick and tired of those who were "uptight, short-sighted [and] narrow-minded." If this seemed a bit abrupt, given the man's previous insistence that all he was saying was to give peace a chance, well, patience was never one of the major virtues, and lately it seems to have diminished to a mere curiosity, which demonstrates that Lennon was just slightly ahead of his time.

Decades later, having succeeded in getting war off the front page, if not off the planet, the powers that be, and the powers that want to be, are fighting on other fronts. Reporting from one of those fronts, Bill Quick professes to be mystified by the seeming upsurge in quackery:

The amount of utter and complete bullshit masquerading as politically correct pseudoscience is just flat amazing. The religion of global warming, the war on meat and fat, the idiocy about the "mortal" dangers of second hand tobacco smoke, the cholesterol fetish, and now terror of sunlight. What the hell is wrong with these people?

They're trying to turn a buck, and various Interested Parties — government, drug makers, policy wonks, government, professional do-gooders, and did I mention government? — have made it quite clear that further bucks are contingent on their toeing the line. And you can't get much more of an incentive than being persuaded you're saving the world and getting paid for it. The world, of course, is indifferent to such things, but that's not their problem.

Bill Quick knows this. And do note the subtlety of his first sentence: the BS in question has yet to rise above the level of pseudoscience, no matter how it's dressed up or who's issuing the imprimatur. The climate-change brouhaha, for instance, is easily dismissable as junk once you notice the sheer paucity of data points from which they're attempting to extrapolate:

Now understand that what the climate sciences are attempting to measure — or claim to us that they have or can measure — is the temperature of a volume of a shell 8 miles thick above a sphere 7,800 or so miles in diameter and they are only measuring the bottom surface of that volume for the overwhelming number of datapoints. And they are saying that they can accurately state the temperature of around 7,300 points on that surface, and that they have done it with a currently-active network of 2,300 stations.

In a volume of air that is roughly one point six billion cubic miles.

In terms of fatuity, this is the equivalent of claiming to be an expert on Texas by dint of having once changed planes at DFW.

Hindsight being close to 20/20, it's not hard to see the pattern here. If the public can be lied to about one Big Thing — a war — with impunity, there's no reason not to lie to them about a dozen, a hundred, a million Little Things. And if you've managed to persuade yourself of your superior wisdom, there's no reason not to jump on the bandwagon and earn your fifteen minutes of fame and/or thirty pieces of silver. And I could call you out, I suppose, but John Lennon has already seen you for what you are: "schizophrenic, egocentric, paranoiac prima donnas." Once again, the man was just slightly ahead of his time.

The Vent

  1 August 2010

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