Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science

I just finished reading The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science by Tom Bethell. This is a very interesting book. I won't attempt to summarize all of the arguments in the book, but I will briefly summarize its conclusions:

Human causation of global warming is a myth.

Nuclear power is safe.

Small amounts of dangerous chemicals and radiation are actually good for you. (This one was completely new to me.)

The ban on DDT has killed millions of people.

The extinction of species is greatly exaggerated.

African AIDS is greatly exaggerated.

Cloning and stem-cell research are based on hype.

Almost nobody ever believed in a flat Earth, and there is no war between religion and science.

The evidence does not support evolution.

If you have doubts about any of these conclusions (or if you don't) I suggest that you read this book.

Beyond these conclusions, the theme of the book is that government influence corrupts true science. This happens through government regulations and bureaucratic agencies with their own political agendas. It also happens through government control of science research dollars, which effectively lets it silence opposing theories.

The lesson here is that just because something is good, like scientific research, doesn't mean that the government should do it. Socialism still doesn't work. Scientific breakthroughs are more likely when private interests have their own money at stake, and are not influenced by politics.

Liberals eagerly cite the harm caused by private interests through pollution, etc. But all the harms caused by private businesses combined come nowhere close to the harm that the government has caused just by its ban on DDT. Remember: when you give government the power to save you, you give government the power to kill you.

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