From: Doug Gwyn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Bargain Basement body armor questions
Organization: U.S. Army Ballistic Research Lab, APG MD.
[MODERATOR: Okay, I let the original comment from Bob through, and so
will give Doug this followup ... but subsequent commentary, discussion or
followup will need to go elsewhere on the net. T.P.G is my default alternate
group, but maybe this would best go in another group. Thanks!]
In article <1993Mar15.email@example.com> btree!hale@UCSD.EDU (Bob
#Scientific American used to be a respectable publication but its
#management has changed and now I find that some articles presented
#as fact are actually editorials. Blatant example: they published
#an anti-gun article by Zimring a couple of years ago. This article
#contained the usual anti-gun arguments which are based on faulty
#studies, but especially interesting was the fact that the article
#contradicted itself on one topic. Yet the article was published.
#Makes you wonder about the editor, doesn't it?
This is a bit off the theme of rec.guns, but it IS a followup:
SciAm has exhibited a definite "liberal" (in the modern usage, not
the old one related to liberty) bias ever since I can recall, which
means back to the early 1960s at least. This isn't limited to gun
issues but also includes nuclear disarmament, anti-SDI, government
managed medicine, etc. I was finally moved to drop my subscription
response to an article on the Prisoner's Dilemma by Anatol Rapaport.
That was an attempt to put forth a theory of "higher rationality"
that would lead one to choose courses of action to (in some sense)
maximize the "common good" even in cases where clearly some other
course of action would always lead to higher personal expectation.
The problem I had with this was that it was developed in terms of
the P.D. game, which has *definite rules* under which one is required
to maximize personal expectation and has no control over the other
player's choice. (I.e. no collaboration.) Under the given rules one
can *prove* rigorously what the proper choice for each player is, but
Rapaport (and others like Douglas Hofstadter), relying on their
intuitive "feeling" that the outcome isn't what they would like it to
be, argue that the other choice would be more ("super-") rational.
(In effect they invariably ignore the constraints of non-collaboration
and one-time play.) Anyway, I was annoyed enough at that socialist
B.S. masquerading as science that I wrote a letter to the editor, but
it wasn't published.
So, it isn't just a matter of "anti-gun". The common thread is that
these people adopt a (philosophical/political/ethical/moral/whatever)
position on some issue, *without adequate rational foundation*, then
twist facts and arguments to rationalize the conclusion that they
already assume they want to arrive at. It shouldn't be, but is,
necessary to say that that is *not* scientific, logical, or rational.
More recent examples of this approach can be seen in the "political
correctness" movement that leads mindless students to forcibly
intrude on public presentations of alternate points of view, not to
engage in rational debate but rather to simply prevent alternatives
from being heard and evaluated; or, look at the increasing violence of
so-called "animal rights" activists, anti-abortionists, and other
modern terrorist thugs. The very thought of tolerating such activity
should be an anathema to a civilized society, but it's amazingly hard
to get official action taken against these thugs. The ultimate cause
of all this irrationality lies in philosophies being promulgated,
ultimately, at universities and through their eventual influence on
public media. The only solution I know of is to spread as much
rational influence as possible and hope that it acts as a good example
for others, who find little enough good example in daily life.