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Autonomy is God and other nonsense

October 14, 2010

Autonomy is God and other nonsense


I often wonder whether we have already awoken to the age of Post-Modernist logic. This is purely a subjective observation based upon the increasing number of shameless Spin Doctors that haunt my day. Everybody seems to have an excuse or a justification for the own actions. No matter how disreputable they are. Not only are they willing to argue that their personal view should reign supreme but they do so with an incredible frequency of euphemisms to lessen the shock of what they desire.


Take for instance the acrobatic way people try to avoid words that accurately describe what they are doing. When a learned writer for the editorial pages of a newspaper wants to promote Euthanasia they go to great lengths to avoid words like Kill, Murder or even Murder-Suicide. Instead we have words like: Doctor Assisted Euthanasia, Voluntary Euthanasia and the inevitable Dying with Dignity. Great lengths are taken in order to avoid any direct connection between end what the euthanasia advocates want and the word “Kill”.


Another example of this shameless line of reasoning occurred on my blog months ago when I publish an article questioning the policy allowing sex change operations in Australia. The story related to the temporary closure of the only clinic in Australia for such operation after a damning report showed that it was exploiting people. Instead of the rage being directed at the clinic for its lapses and unscientific reasoning transgenda advocates and activists tried to bury my site in a pile of questionable scientific papers (none of which were convincing). The moral outrage was palpable. It was as if I had personally closed the clinic, instead of just editorializing about it. Yet like the diligent investigator that I am, I did read many of these deathly dull papers merely to find that they were based upon survey results of people’s attitudes. “How you feel” surveys may make great fodder for activists but they are hardly objective and empirical evidence. Nowhere did I find a paper pointing to a chromosome stipulating that here is the “Transgenda Gene.” Yet if people have already decided that they are correct no science is ever required to prove it to them and conversely, no science can ever disprove it either.


Finally we have been inundated with the climate debate, or what is now called Human Caused Climate Change. A few years ago I was listening closely as world leader after world leader stated that we were facing a crisis and something had to be done urgently. Everyone went along for the ride, myself included, as we trusted that our leader knew what they were talking about. However two years later, I am suffering from the Kermit reaction, “it is not easy being green”. Copenhagen was a reality check of how serious the world was about the so called scientific certainty of climate change. Politicians might be self serving but few could be accused of being suicidal. So if they were truly certain that the world would end unless we imposed a price on carbon then they would all jump at the chance. Climate-Gate only added fuel to flicker of doubt and now all I see is people fighting over ideological mantras rather than scientific indicators. I am still yet to see what effect a price on carbon in Australia only would have upon the rest of the world. How do these experts reach their rather specific conclusions about temperature increase when dealing with an imprecise science like climatology? I am at a loss to understand this. However it has not stopped a new wave of green advocates dusting off old mantras about how there are “too many people on the planet”. Malthus might be discredited and dead but his ghost lives on in the radical greenies.


The bottom line of all of this is that we are living in age that only mouths its appreciation of science and knowledge. Instead of open enquiry and genuine critical thinking (let alone clear thinking) we have a heavy reliance on winning an argument at all costs. Any fool can win an argument if they are their own judge of who won. Yet if shouting people down and making false accusations against those who disagree is intelligent, then the definition of intelligence is seriously warped.

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