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Everything posted by Marat

  1. The U.S. is one of the cruellest of the developed nations, given its poor social safety net to keep taxes low on millionaires. If a few poor children have to starve to death, lose their chance of an education, suffer from inadequate healthcare, etc. to keep those taxes low, then that's just the price of doing business. Add to that its high crime rates, uniquely high rate of imprisonment, its penchant for imperialist wars, and the utter, Jerry Springer dumbness of vast stretches of the country, and it is a pure horror to live there. Says this former American. The more socially progressive countries of Northern Europe and Canada have a superior cultural niveau, excellent social safety nets, superb public institutions, and first-rate public transport. They are also more reluctant to embark on imperialistic adventures, and crime is not an everyday threat, even in the major cities. However, if you have grown up in the culture of American liberty, then the smug, stultifying, repressive vision of 'human rights' in these countries, which just take if for granted that no one should have free speech if it irritates anyone else, etc., will make your blood boil, especially when you see how sheepishly the public accepts any abuse from their 'democratic' governments. "Did you see, Hans, the government is going to allow stores to be open an extra hour during the three weeks before Christmas this year, so now we will be permitted to shop from 10 AM until 3 PM on Saturdays! Isn't that generous! The Government of North-Rhine-Westphalia is so kind and wise!" Marat: "Did you know that stores in America are open 24/7?" Rhinelanders: "Impossible! What would become of public order?!"
  2. To take an economic view of the situation, if the 'market' is glutted with a large surplus of unsellable male 'products' (too old, too set in their ways, odd-balls who were not paired off in the first phase of 'normal' pairing circa 25-30), and the 'consumers' are females who have very few 'assets' with which to 'purchase' a mate (too old, a bit batty from spending too much time alone with too many cats, perhaps 'burdened' with children from earlier boyfriends or husbands who took off), then the supply of shoddy goods should meet the demand from consumers with little spare currency at some mutally agreeable 'price,' i.e., marriage. The reasons this doesn't happen, i.e., that 'the market is not cleared,' are many. Some factors include: 1) Social skills attenuate to the point that people no longer seek partners or can no longer attract them. 2) People re-focus their interests out of despair over ever finding a suitable partner, and so are no longer looking. 3) Sex hormone levels decline in both genders to the point where the effort required to find a partner exceeds the tolerance for investing in that effort. 4) Unrealistically high expectations for a partner formed at an earlier age induce misperceptions of the actual 'market value' of the 'products' on display. 5) People adjust to living alone and no longer really need a partner. 6) The people who were not paired off in the first round of 'trades' were those who did not really want a partner in the first place, whether they admitted it to themselves or not.
  3. The theory that the incoherences of the Bible can be explained away as translation errors or as corruptions of the text over time itself refutes the existence of God, in the following way: 1) God is defined as infinitely wise, so he would know better than to communicate his most vital message to humanity in a form which would only confuse people into not believing in him. 2) If the Bible were written by human authors in a primitive time, they probably wouldn't have had the insights that come from modern, sophisticated hermeneutics, so they would likely have been naive enough to invent a story that an infinitely wise God would communicate his greatest message to mankind via a hermeneutically unreliable, written text. 3) Therefore, it is most likely that the Bible was written by naive people without much understanding of hermeneutics and its difficulties than by an infinitely wise God who would have known better than to entrust his message to a text in the ideas, language, and philosophical assumptions of a given time and place.
  4. If you are interested in the theory that God is best understood as equivalent to nature under a certain interpretation of or perspective on nature, then you would find Baruch Spinoza's works, or secondary sources on him, useful, since he developed this same view. Your views may also have some connection with the so-called 'natural religion' movement. All areas of knowledge can be classified into esoteric and exoteric systems, with religious theories being mainly esoteric, and science being mainly exoteric. Although only a narrow 'priesthood' of scientists actually understand fully the insights of the advancing research front at any time, in principle everything they know is both empirically testable, ultimately exhibitable, and rationally comprehensible by anyone who wants to take the time and get the training to understand it. But the distinctive feature of most religions is that they rely on knowledge which is to some degree anti-democratic and anti-empirical, since it is restricted to a few priests or not discoverable at all. In the Ancient World, there were many religions whose doctrines were so secret that today historians have still not been able to reconstruct them. Among these are the so-called 'mystery' religions, which had many connections to Christianity, such as Mithraism, the cult of Cybele, the cult of Magna Mater, and the brief state religion of sun-worshipping introduced in Rome by Heliogabelus. But even the major religions usually contain some mysterious core even today, such as Judaism's 'holy of holies,' the Arc of the Covenant that no one can see, the inner temple of Jerusalem which banned women and those who were not priests; Christianity's 'God who surpatheth all understanding'; or Mormonism's sacred text communicated by the Angel, Moroni, and now lost so that no one can check it. I think that the reliance of religions on sacred secrets should reinforce our suspicion that they are really just systems to create an artificial source of power for their priests who declare themselves in possession of, or as being closer to, something we can't all inspect and judge for ourselves.
  5. Your question can be generalized to: Why do all people think differently, even when they operate with a mental apparatus in large part constructed by languages that are either the same or can easily be translated into each other, with cultural conditionings that are commensurable, and with a similar picture of objectivity, at least for most of their experience? To some extent the mysteries of miscommunication and our inability to convince each other of the truth or value of our personal beliefs stems from the parts of our experiences which are unique: Our differing personal biographies, immediate family contexts, schooling, books read, people met, experiences endured or enjoyed, are all different and this is bound to induce us all to construct very different general theories about what everything means. Building bridges between these different theories by reason and argument is bound to be difficult without our audiences sharing our same background. I can trace my own atheism to certain moments of insight that affected me deeply, even though the thoughts were not that significant in themselves. When I was about 12 it occurred to me that what mainly determined who was saved or who was damned was where the paths of trade, exploration, and conquest had contingently emanated from Ancient Judea, and so this made people's chances at salvation unfair and arbitrary. Then I was visiting an Austrian religious institution after I had read a psychological theory that people express their sexual desire for others at close range by turning toward them. I then saw a monk and a nun squeeze past each other in a narrow corridor, and they both turned toward each other rather than away, which would have been just as effective for getting past, so I thought: What is the point of pious behavior if the actual state of our feelings just exposes it as a lie? Then I read an account of an ancient African tribal myth that was nearly identical in every detail to the Christ story, so I started wondering what ethical difference it could make to salvation for someone to believe in the entire Christ story but just in the wrong historical and geographical setting, with Nke Madzimbamuto as Christ? And if this belief would not suffice, why would God stake salvation on getting contingent historical details right? Each of these thoughts stunned me when I had it. They might have had no impact at all and have been explained away by others. Perhaps I was intellectually ready by what I had thought previously for these ideas to have a major effect on me. But I think if I had grown up without these epiphanies, I would today have trouble convincing my own alternate self of the atheistic views I now have.
  6. Marat

    NATO !

    The initiation of any ceasefire is always ragged, and especially where combat is ongoing, disengagement can be difficult. Thus many soldiers were killed on both sides shortly after the official end of World War I, sot so much because anyone intended to violate the ceasefire as because the fog of war confuses the effect of all orders. The point in Libya is that if Gaddafi's proposal had been accepted and his forces were still not in overall compliance with it a day or two later, obviously the ceasefire would have been exposed as a sham and would have no longer had any effect. So what could it have been worth to Gaddafi to have a fake ceasefire which would have been effective for only a day or two? I doubt that he would have seen it as worthwhile, and would instead have regarded it as counterproductive, since it would just have strengthened the international condemnation of his regime. The fact that the rebels rejected his ceasefire offer out of hand shows that they are the ones, along with their NATO backers, who have made themselves from that moment on solely responsible for the civilian casaulties, the avoidance of which is also the sole ground of NATO's authority to be there in the first place under international law! That the Western media have not even noticed this mind-numbing paradox only speaks to how little free press we have in reality. Instead all we have is propagandistic prattling by CNN about Gaddafi's troops using rape as a weapon of war, just like the World War I propaganda about the barbarian Huns raping nuns as they moved through Belgium. The latter was exposed after the war as a total fabrication, but only after it made no difference, and the former will no doubt turn out to be the same sort of nonsense. It is a mark of the decline of religion that the rape stories no longer have to be about nuns, but with the rise of feminism as the new religion, just plain rape does well enough.
  7. It seems almost a disproof of the message of the Bible and of Christ's message that so many indirect and imperfect demonstrations of God's existence are given ('Hey look, I can pull a rabbit out of my hat, that must prove that what I just said is true!' -- blind being healed, dead raised, insanity cast out of a person and into animals, burning bushes as signs, stone tablets from the sky, etc.), but the simple and obvious step of just plain exhibiting God to our inspection is never taken. Why hint rather than prove if the proof is really available? Is there some serious ethical point to making salvation turn on guessing the right answer in a Cosmic Quiz Show where the contestants have a little information but still not enough to make the right guess (the last curtain turned out to have a car behind it; does that mean the next will just have a donkey?)? As for the Bible being at least internally consistent, the old book 'Self-Contradictions of the Bible' written by William Henry Burr (New York: A. J. Davis, 1860) lists 144 pairs of contradictory statements over 96 pages of text.
  8. Modern criminal law distinguishes 'homicide,' which refers to any killing of a human being, whether lawful or not, from 'murder,' which is an illegal killing of a human being. Many killings of people are legal, such as in war, in self-defense, while acting under the defense of necessity, while acting under certain circumstances in the course of law enforcement, etc. Similarly, the Biblical text of 'thou shalt not kill' is said to be most accurately translated into English as 'thou shalt not commit a murderous act,' which does allow for some killing of human beings. But still, the general point seems to stand, which is that the genocidal actions that Moses commits against all the Semitic tribes standing between the Jewish people and their intended homeland are immoral by any ethical standard, so it seems monstrous to worship an imaginary entity who would command such things.
  9. Roman historians report that 10,000 spectators saw the Roman Emperor (almost all the Roman Emperors claimed divine status) fly across the Colosseum. So that is probably better evidence for his divinity than any proof we have of Christ's miracles. In the Ancient world there were countless itinerant miracle-makers, from magical healers in today's Turkey to the two magicians mentioned in the Old Testament as making a staff turn into a snake in front of Pharaoh. So given the context of gullible observers predisposed to believe in miracles, poor record-keeping, lack of a modern concept of the distinction between story and history (even good historians like Herodotus and Thycidides invented a lot of material but didn't seem to think that was cheating), I don't think we can really say that there is any good evidence that Christ performed any better miracles than anyone else.
  10. If global warming were just an academic problem, then yes, I would agree that we should just evaluate it scientifically, and adjust the degree of skepticism appropriate to the issue according to the nature of the scientific data. But in this case it is also a social issue, so the social cost has to inform our criteria of conviction.
  11. The standard name sometimes used for the phenomenon you describe is 'night terrors,' referring to the awakening of a patient from a nightmarish dream state which he does not fully escape on waking. Adolf Hitler used to suffer from this condition, and his biographers report him awakening one night in a state of terror and constantly repeating, 'He! He!!" while pointing to some invisible spectre in the corner of his bedroom. Hypnogogic illusions of this sort can be a symptom of neurosis or just of transient stress and may well be indicative of nothing serious. People often cross dreaming and waking states, so some people see faces and dreamlike images before they even fall asleep, while others persist in having dream experiences even after they wake up. The closest I've come in my own life to such experiences is awakening and continuing to worry about some problem which arose in my dreams, but only slowly realizing that it could not be real. This experience was not accompanied by any dreamlike imagery, but manifested only as a concept.
  12. I agree with your emphasis. But my point is essentially just that the way doctors are paid in various countries is not really a reflection of the different distribution of the physician's role and duties in various jurisdictions, but more of arbitrary cultural assumptions about what they should be paid. Thus those countries where pharmacists, nurses, EMTs, and physicians' assistants are allowed to assume more medical doctors' duties than elsewhere, the pay scales don't reflect that admixture of supposedly 'super-high-value' M.D. services in the 'super-low-value' nursing and EMT services and 'moderate value' pharmacist services. This is then yet further evidence of the culturally arbitrary nature of the value each society assigns to the work of each profession. In the old Soviet Union, coal miners were extremely well paid because their work was so filthy, dangerous, and stultifying, while in East Germany, doctors were so poorly paid that I can remember then walking around wearing sandals held together with bandages, since they couldn't afford new shoes.
  13. I suspect that the airline industry does not want to do anything to alarm passengers by reminding them of the possibility that the plane may crash, since this will discourage air travel, so they avoid taking some obvious safety measures which would serve as negative advertising. For example, it was long ago established that survival in plane crashes could be improved if the seats all faced backwards, but airlines have never done this, perhaps because it would just highlight the potential danger being addressed.
  14. Believers often claim that some special knowledge reveals truths about divinity to them which give them unshakeable confidence in its existence, or some special epistemic capacity, such as telepathy, allows them access to a truth about the cosmos or the divinity which cannot be doubted. Since such experiences are private, there is no way to refute them. However, before they can count as true for me, or as establishing anything as objectively real, they have to meet the publicly agreed upon criteria for objective existence, so their secret manifestation for any given individual doesn't really do anything for the essentially public question of God's existence. But I also wonder why believers are so willing to trust their inner intuitions or special revelations about the divinity, given that we all know that the mind can play tricks on itself. Erotomaniacs are convinced that some causual acquaintance at work is in love with them, and the delusion can seize hold of the erotomaniac's mind in such a way that the normal critical faculties are put out of operation. The same thing could easily be happening with inner convictions assuring people of God's reality. Even the Bible warns that the Devil may appear as an angel to delude us. Generally, the only way we can be sure that some inner intuition or conviction is true is by checking it against evidence in the outside world, not by inspecting the intensity of our inner conviction. If I wake up overwhelmingly convinced that horse number 7 is going to win the first race, that's not a good reason to make a bet, and it certainly doesn't compare with reading in the newspaper the next day which horse actually did win.
  15. Here's a simple, reliable, inexpensive, three-word solution: Use scissors instead.
  16. The problem with all studies of psychiatric interventions is that it is never entirely clear what the endpoints are or should be which can be taken to indicate 'success,' given that 'being a good, fully-developed human' is an open-ended project with no clear formulae for guidance and no generally agreed-upon, measurable outcome indicative of success. Thus for example, are patients drugged into robotic lack of sensitivity to their own inner states to be labelled as successfully cured of their depression because they don't report feeling the negative emotions of depression any more? Perhaps the medication has only made them insensitive and thus less human, which can hardly be characterized as clincial success. If you become a much deeper but sadder person by reading poetry, studying existential philosophy, or undergoing primal therapy, are you better or worse off? It is not as though we are measuring something as objectively determinable as a treatment for hypertension, hyperglycemia, or hypercalcuria. If imagining that you are re-experiencing a traumatic childhood memory makes you scream and after the process is over your depth of human experience and sense of self-integration seems improved, is the therapy a success or a failure because it can't work the way its theory says it works, given the inaccessibility of those memories? Essentially my point is that we are just using a metaphor borrowed from physiology when we say that the human psyche is 'healthy' or 'diseased,' so we can't very clearly say that any intervention has worked or not.
  17. It's also interesting to note that in the US in the 1930s, the average doctor earned about half of what the average lawyer earned, while now that is more or less reversed. In Germany the average dentist today earns about twice the salary of the average doctor, which is again the reverse of the US today. In some countries, like Mexico, a pharmacist can do much of what only a doctor can do in the US, such as dispense prescription drugs, but the pharmacist's salary doesn't reflect this incorporation of part of the doctor's duties. All salaries are arbitrary, since fair salaries would have to be calculated on the basis of a composite analysis of factors such as pay for 1) physical danger; 2) humiliating nature of the work; 3) lack of creativity in the work; 4) stress; 5) security of employment tenure; 5) the community's need for the particular job being done to be low-paid, given the importance of the service to the general good (such as low army pay in a war); 6) a basic human equality factor, since all honest human labor has to be equally respected if we accept that humans are morally equal and have equal basic material needs for survival. I wouldn't require any additional salary for years of education, since education, properly understood, is a pleasure and a privilege, and no one should be entitled to claim compensation for it. Similarly, a job with high authority and responsibility should not command additional remuneration, since authority and responsibility are pleasures, and the famous Bell Telephone Company health survey showed that the more authority employees had, the longer they lived and the the healthier they were. On a fair salary calculation, doctors' salaries would be heavily reduced for the general lack of physical danger, for the non-humiliating nature of the work, for their chance for intellectual activity, for their relative freedom from the threat of unemployment, and for the pressing social need to ensure healthcare for all. Only for the stress factor would doctors merit any additional salary above ordinary workers. But instead, in the real world of the modern US, doctors now earn 4 or 5 times the average salary, and specialists around 10 times the average.
  18. Marat

    NATO !

    That's also why Canada is so often pressed into international imperialist missions. Since Canada has an unjustifiably benign image internationally, having Canada onside for the latest neocolonial adventure provides an excellent fig leaf. Although the UN Security Council authorized the Libyan mission, it did so only through diplomatic arm-twisting by the Great Powers getting enough votes onside, so the Security Council has itself become the figleaf of imperialism. Technically, article 24 of the UN Charter allows the International Court of Justice to review UN Security Council actions for their consistency with the UN Charter, but the court lacks the courage to submit the Great Powers to the discipline of anything so objective and neutral as international law. The Security Council Resolution also only allows actions to be taken to protect civilian lives in Libya. Technically, it is impossible to regard Gaddafi's forces as threatening civilian lives after they asked for a ceasefire and were turned down. Even if that request was a ruse, at least during the ceasefire Gaddafi would not have been endangering civilians, and the ceasefire itself would have promoted the Security Council Resolution a million times more effectively than continuing the fight for the period the ceasefire would have lasted. NATO paradoxically decided to enforce the sole authorization for its intervention in Libya -- saving civilian lives -- by adopting the military methods most likely to maximize civilian casualties: high-level bombing of cities like Tripoli; logistical support for undisciplined rebel troops; and lobbing missiles from long distance at cities. It has already been documented by the BBC that NATO is now slaughtering Libyan civilians by its inaccurate targeting of missiles and bombs at Tripoli, so logically, to fulfill its UN mandate, NATO should start bombing its own military installations to reduce civilian casualties. As for Gaddafi's initial use of lethal force against armed rebels in his own country committing acts of sedition to overthrow the government by force, this was a perfectly legal action under the Criminal Code of Libya, and so should have been regarded internationally as nothing more than a case of a state maintaining its own domestic rule of law. No country in the world permits armed rebels to try to overthrow the government and simply stands back and lets them do so without opposing them by armed force. The fact that Libya did so was no different than what Lincoln did in the U.S. during the American Civil War, and just as legal.
  19. Nausea can have both psychological and physical causes, and the possible loci around the body for whatever is causing you to feel nauseous are many. Anti-emetics, such as Gravol, usually work by turning off the areas of the brain which create the sensations telling you to vomit, which is why they make patients groggy as well. Since you are feeling nauseous when you awaken or exercise, and since your psyche is unlikely to be engaged to produce a physically unmotivated, purely psychological sensation of nausea on those occasions, I would guess that there is some somatic problem causing it. The range of possible causes of persistent nausea is huge, including things such as ulcers, hyperacidity, gallstones, appendicitis, diabetes, renal disease, stomach cancer, etc., so it is best to have it professionally diagnosed.
  20. I agree that the political and economic aspects of the global warming debate should generally be treated as issues separate from the scientific questions. However, I do think they are relevant to the science in that the potentially dire effects on the economy required to address carbon emissions inform the degree of skepticism with which the scientific claims for global warming must be addressed. If fixing the global warming problem required only $1.98 additional tax per head in the developed world, then it would be worth doing just on the odd chance that the global warming panic was justified.
  21. Keep in mind that everyone loses some intellectual acuity with age, but because our interactions with society are typically rather imprecise and 'blunt,' we notice small changes in intellectual capacity much more intensely than others do. That is why I am always surprised when people exhibit behavior which suggests that they are extreme egotists. Since everyone is intimately acquainted with his own intellectual defects which he has corrected prior to presenting himself and his views to the public, you would think people would always have a lower opinion of themselves than others do. One of my first 'bumps' on the way down through intellectual decline with age was noticing, for the first time at age 28, that I actually needed to keep track of the day's errands and plans with a written list, whereas before I had been able to keep everything sorted and stored in my head. At about that same age I found that I could no longer concentrate fully on difficult texts while the television was on in the same room, since my brain could no longer focus sufficiently to screen out all distractions. Sigh. But functionally, beyond demonstrating your intellectual acrobatics at party games, what do changes such as these matter? You can still function intellectually at a high enough level even without these special skills that come from being both smart and young.
  22. Though the philosopher Immanuel Kant made a good contrary point that if we actually knew that God existed and guaranteed Heaven for those who were good, our good behavior would be ethically meaningless, since it would just represent the ordinary prudence of someone scheming to maximize his chances for eternal happiness. Ethics only first becomes morally meaningful if we act for the sake of goodness with no ulterior purposes of practical self-advantage, so we must not be certain of God or Heaven if we are to hold open our only chance to be morally significant. The way Kant solves this problem is to say that both God and an afterlife in which the good are rewarded have to be just beliefs to give some ontological anchor to the ethical system, but not known realities, which would transform ethics into practical, self-interested prudence.
  23. I listened to only part of this on another website, since it seems to go on rather long. I think his basic conceptual mistake is that it is possible to draw qualitative, loose, metaphoric analogies between some selected subset of statements in any document, whether scientific or imaginative, and any selected sub-sections of any other document, whether scientific or imaginative. The reason why this mapping is possible is because there is a considerable play in the connection rules: near misses, qualitative rather than just quantitative links, and metaphorical conenctions all count as valid congruences. So using these sorts of connection rules, I could make Brahm Stoker's novel 'Dracula' a correct anticipation of the theory of atomic decay, since Stoker's description of Dracula turning into a bat 'anticipates' Fermi's data on one type of atom being transformed into another type of atom by radioactive decay, at least as long as we regard them both as talking about the ability of one entity to transform spontaneously into another entity. So to claim that the Bible anticipates the Big Bang theory by stating that the universe had a beginning is simply too loose a relation to count as a true prediction or anticipation.
  24. Marat

    NATO !

    NATO was originally established as a defensive alliance to oppose the forces of the Warsaw Pact, which were thought to intend an invasion of Western Europe with their massive combined armies exceeding NATO's forces many times over. Not much wrong with that. But then, when the Warsaw Pact dissolved and the ideological motivations for such a massive invasion of the West by the East unravelled with it, NATO was preserved as an Imperialists' Club to assert the interests of the West against other nations. If the Yugoslav break-up and ethnic wars were not good for the NATO countries' vision of a future capitalist Europe secure for business and commerce, then NATO would just bomb the Yugoslavs into submission, even if this meant bombing from such a high altitude that innocent civilian deaths were sure to result, but if high altitudes were necessary to protect NATO pilots, so be it. And of course when it came time to assess the conflict for war crimes, the investigators were all from NATO countries so they ignored the Serbs' evidence of civilian deaths from NATO bombing and instead saw only war crimes -- by some astonishing coincidence -- solely on the side of NATO's enemies. Louise Arbour, one of the war crimes inspectors, just by coincidence was appointed to the Canadian Supreme Court after her report. Now NATO is intervening in Libya in fulfillment of the UN Security Council's narrow authorization of military action to protect civilian lives and nothing else. Although Gaddafi a while ago offered a ceasefire which would have immediately brought to an end all possibility of further civilian casualties on either side, which the NATO-backed rebels refused to accept, thus making them logically solely responsible for all future civilian casualities. NATO continues to back the rebels -- solely to prevent civilian casualties! NATO is also now itself causing civilian casualties by its bombing, as it knew in advance it could not help but do, and naturally no one is counting whether NATO is now producing more civilian casaulties by its massive bombing campaign than Gaddafi's tiny forces are causing on the ground. NATO's actions now remind one of the Berlin Conference of 1884 when the Great Powers met to divide up Africa among themselves. Now that the period of internicene wars among the Great Powers (1914-1945; followed by the Cold War of 1945-1991) is over, they can settle back into the old way of doing things, but instead of being called by those rather unstylish names of the past like 'the White Man's Burden,' 'European Imperialism,' 'the Mission to Christianize and Civilize the Primitive World,' it is more fashionably disguised with the name of the old purely defensive alliance, 'NATO.'
  25. With respect to physician education, you have to take into account the fact that the course for a basic medical qualification in Europe is begun at age 19 and is not a second degree after a B.A., as is the case in North America. Most physician 'thinking' is just cookbook application of prescribed recipes, in part because of the fear of malpractice suits because anything inconsistent with 'generally accepted' practices is extremely risky if something goes wrong. This holds thinking down to the lowest common denominator, at least in clinical practice. Also, FDA regulations (and their analogues in other jurisdictions) and professional society disciplining hold clinical innovation within very narrow bands. Even in medical research, the 12- to 15-year rituals required for the approval of new drugs keep progress glacially slow. Contrast Banting and Best, who discovered insulin in October, 1921, and were treating patients at the Toronto Sick Children's Hospital by February, 1922. They would have been doing that by 1934 the way things operate today. Medical research is ridiculously stagnant and unimaginative. In many specialialties if you look in medical journals published 20 years ago and compare them with those published today, you will find the same sterile ground being gone over again and again, with little progress. I did a study of a topic in schizophrenia, for which I surveyed the literature from 1980 to 2005, and I found that in the 2005 journals I was just re-reading the same old debates which already seemed rather tired when Ronald Reagan was President. The stagnation of reseach is evident in the ludicrous, micro-scale, clinically irrelevant, or scientifically vacuous studies being done in many fields. "Fingernail Growth in Type 1 Diabetics as an Index of Uric Acid Levels," "Education Programs for Hispanic Patients and their Effect on Blood-Pressure Management," "Simvastatin vs. Lipitor and Muscle Wasting in the Gravid Wistar Rat" -- I just shrink in horror when I read the source of the grant money for such pointless exercises in empty publication credits, since they often come from organizations which actively raise huge contributions from the sick and their families who are hoping for a cure, not trash like this. The real howler is the two-page published paper, repeating and reaffirming something that was common knowledge in 1960, with eight authors on it! But where there is a desert of ideas and a desperation for publication credits, I guess even the person who turned the lights on and off in the lab needs his name on the paper somewhere. The fact that life expectancy in the developed world is levelling for the first time since records were kept speaks volumes. I suspect that cancer survival rates only appear to improve, since earlier detection permits the unchanged process of decline from the initial development to the final conclusion of the case to be clocked at an earlier starting point. I don't think there is much real controversy about stagnation in medicine, given the FDA panic bulletin (2008) about the lack of new drugs appearing; the failure of medicine to overcome any major diseases in the last half century; the silting up of the population wasting away on dialysis; the increase in Alzheimer's incidence while medicine stands helpless; the increasing effort of medicine to shift the blame for disease on the general population (you don't exercise enough; you eat too much; you eat the wrong things; you have to come in earlier for more tests, etc.) so as to hide its own embarrassment at not being able to do what it claims; stagnant life expectancies; coming up soon on a century with no fundamental progress in diabetes; coming up soon on 30 years of little progress in transplant medicine; now past 60 years since Dr. Kolff complained that his newly-invented dialysis machine could only save the life of the patient by ruining it with this basic problem unchanged -- overall, the picture doesn't look as good as it should, especially when you contrast with this the progress during the same period from biplanes to jets, from Dr. Goddard's rockets to Moon travel; from the Army's room-sized artillery range calculator of 1942 to the modern laptop, etc.
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