Wednesday, 21 July 2021

A cult of ignorance

In 1980 Isaac Asimov, the renowned science fiction writer published a book, “The cult of ignorance”. Asimov made many speculations during his life anticipating changes, not only on science and technology, but in the fields of education, politics and culture. Many of his predictions have been realised in fact and history. The book contains a famous quote.  “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

This prediction is to a certain extent realised in the UK. Precious few of our elected politicians have any scientific background at all, and we have not had a prime minister with a science degree since Margaret Thatcher. That this man was nominated as member of a science committee is perhaps an example of how little regard our politicians can have for science.

But if you want to see Asimov’s prediction realised probably far beyond what he might have anticipated, look no further than the USA, and in particular the Republican party, or GOP as it is also known. "The GOP has become the party that embraces ignorance, celebrates anti-intellectualism and dismisses scientific truths as mere inconveniences."

A good example would be the extent of denialism in the GOP over climate change. DZ has in the past had some doubts in this area, and is still sceptical of some of the more catastrophic predictions, but there can be little doubt now that it is happening. But acknowledging that would put at risk the huge political donations the GOP receives from the fossil fuel industry.

More specific examples include;

The promotion of injecting bleach to treat Covid made by the moron in chief of the GOP, Donald Trump, when squatting in the White House. The levels of delusion and lunacy now displayed by this man are at a level usually only seen in tertiary syphilis.

The suggestion that climate change could be tackled by somehow changing the orbit of the moon!

The passing of an actual law in Ohio requiring that ectopic pregnancies be transplanted into the Uterus!

A recent exchange between Anthony Fauci  and GOP's Rand Paul in which Fauci had to point out to Paul that he, Paul, "do not know what you are talking about".

And at it's very worst the incoherent deranged ramblings, bereft of of meaning and credibility exhibited by this individual.

And this one

The United States boasts some of the finest scientists, and scientific institutions in the world, and yet a sizeable proportion of their populace seems to be disinclined to take any notice of them, regarding them with doubt, suspicion and animosity. This article well represents their hostility to the educated.

It is no coincidence that the highest rates of scientific illiteracy and ignorance come from those states with the highest rates of religiosity, particularly evangelical christianity. When you start with the unshakeable belief that the world is only 6000 years old any attempt at education is simply pissing into the wind.

But perhaps Darwin may have the last laugh. Many GOP lawmakers and a huge proportion of the GOP base are highly skeptical of vaccinating against covid, or even that the pandemic exists. In the US 99% of covid deaths are in the unvaccinated and stories like this are becoming increasingly common.

I make no pretence that I have anything but contempt for these stupid fuckers. Their escalating numbers of deaths make the USA a better place, and diminishes the number of GOP voters.

No bad thing

Tuesday, 6 July 2021


 DZ has, in his geriatric naivety has only recently come across the concept of "incels". And gone down the rabbit hole of various misogynistic groups. Quite an education. A simple web search will turn up countless stories about how unpleasantly these guys can behave.

DZ thinks that the emergence of these people, who seem to have no social skills at all may have something to do with the way people socialise and communicate in today's world.

When DZ was a teenager, the only real ways to communicate were by letter, phone or face to face. But mostly face to face. And with face to face communication there is so much more than the spoken word. Facial expression, vocal intonation, and body language all conveyed information that transcended the simple spoken word. If we said something that the other person found uncomfortable or inappropriate, this non verbal feedback would be picked up, and cause the speaker to modify his behaviour, without any overt expression of discomfort. And in this way we learned social skills. Clearly some didn't but my recollection is that these people were less common than now. Even on the phone vocal intonation would provide some feedback, and writing a letter was such a slow process that it gave the writer time to think about what he was saying.

Today, such a lot of communication is by the unsupplemented  written word, written in haste and sent instantly. Without any non verbal feed back the speaker has no inkling of how his words are received and we sink into a world of unrestrained messages, eventually crossing the line into abuse. Social skills are not acquired, and incels are born. A generation, mostly of males, who feel towards women nothing but a sense of entitlement and rage when their expectations are not met.

Every possible grievance imaginable is directed towards women as a result of this justifiable rejection of these male misfits. 

But one in particular struck DZ funnybone. Paradoxically for men who are not getting sex, is their insistence that condoms are unacceptable in sex. And in their fantasy world one of the reasons is that they are so well blessed that no condom made can accommodate their prodigious manhood.

DZ remembers once, many years ago being at a party where there was a competition to see who could stretch a condom the most without breaking it. This young lady was the winner.

Thursday, 1 July 2021


It has recently come to DZ attention that many general practices are still denying patients actual physical consultations with patients. While their hospital colleagues have been conscientiously seeing, talking to, examining and treating people many GPs are simply hiding away, only doing telephone consultations, issuing prescriptions blind and making their less well paid employees continue the actual business of engaging with patients.
Practice nurses, pharmacists and reception staff are still in the surgery, talking face to face with patients, but the actual doctors are conspicuous by their absence.
Presumably they are fully vaccinated, if not why not. 
Far be it from me to suggest that they are now simply using the pandemic as an excuse to stay at home on their lazy arses, fobbing off patients by phone, or sending them straight to the hospital for their more dedicated colleagues to deal with, rather than actually doing their job.

To quote a military adage. "An officer leads from the front!"