Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Regulation Is the Opposite of Science
This is good reading material for those who are opposed to Intelligent Design being considered a valid scientific theory; specifically, those in favor of using the police power of the state to ensure that it never is.
First of all, take a look at the “About” page from the official website for the New Hampshire Board of Medicine.
What is the Board of Medicine
The Board was created by the Legislature in 1897 to ensure that all physicians had the training and skills necessary to practice safe and effective medicine for the people of New Hampshire. Originally, the Board was comprised of 5 physicians. Later, a paramedical representative was added to the membership along with 2 members of the public who have no relationship to the medical profession. All members are appointed by the Governor and serve 5 year terms.
The Board is an independent decision making entity. It employs a full time administrative staff and contracts with other state agencies to provide investigation and legal support. The Board is served by an advisory committee for physician assistants as well as a disciplinary review committee. All expenses are paid for by license fees.
So for a hundred and eight years the Board has been ensuring physicians “practice safe and effective medicine.” We’re all clear on that being the mission statement, right? Well, on the recommendation of this Board, Dr. Terry Bennett is under investigation by the state attorney general’s office for counseling one of his patients that she needs to lose some weight.
Dr. Terry Bennett says he tells obese patients their weight is bad for their health and their love lives, but the lecture drove one patient to complain to the state.
“I told a fat woman she was obese,” Bennett says. “I tried to get her attention. I told her, ‘You need to get on a program, join a group of like-minded people and peel off the weight that is going to kill you.’ ”
He says he wrote a letter of apology to the woman when he found out she was offended.
Her complaint, filed about a year ago, was initially investigated by a panel of the New Hampshire Board of Medicine, which recommended that Bennett be sent a confidential letter of concern. The board rejected the suggestion in December and asked the attorney general’s office to investigate.
Bennett rejected that office’s proposal that he attend a medical education course and acknowledge that he made a mistake.
Is the Board acting in fulfillment of its mission statement? I don’t know. I’d need to review the patient’s medical chart to make that determination, and before I did that, it couldn’t hurt to get a medical degree first. But could it not be taken as a safe assumption beyond reasonable disagreement, that this kind of censuring and censoring is probably out-of-harmony with the Board’s stated purpose? And couldn’t most people agree that in all likelihood, this is a contradiction to the Board’s stated purpose? After all, when you’re a fat tub-of-lard who can inspire your doctor to say “you need to peel of the weight that is going to kill you,” it’s probably not good for you to be cloistered and sheltered from people who are going to say that.
I’m giving the Board the benefit of the doubt here, assuming that their actions are being undertaken in pursuit of their stated mission. Common sense, though, tells us this is more likely to be all about feelings. And that’s the trouble with regulation. After awhile, it tends to be pursued out of concern for people’s feelings, and when it is, nobody ever takes the trouble to write that down. Nobody ever writes a charter, or a mission statement, or a constitution, to define intensive bureaucratic endeavors to preserve and enhance people’s positive feelings. The Feelings-Mission-Statement has a way of just kind of creeping in as time goes along.
Science is not about feelings, it is about fact. And the last feelings that cause any loss-of-sleep to real science, are the feelings of scientific professionals sympathetic to whatever is being challenged. Science is also not about predictability. You buy a quart of vegetable oil or five pounds of sugar, you know exactly what you’re getting; if a dead roach is in the oil or a disembodied finger is in the sugar, then we need some regulation. You visit your doctor, and in the world I live in, things work a little different — if you’re due for a surprise, you get it. But the New Hampshire Board of Medicine apparently figures it should work more like a food product. Pay your money, go in, no surprises. Just pasteurized, filtered and overly-regulated small-talk about weather and golf. Sensible advice about your bad health habits are expunged, with penalties, reprimands, and I should assume periodic audits, just like rat turds from a bottle of ketchup.
There is an important lesson here that applies to the human-heifer, to Intelligent Design, and to anything else that has to do with scientific institutions: Epiphanies helpful to science, as common-sense and unavoidable as they look in the rear-view mirror, create a lot of discomfort when they’re first proposed. Things like “you need to lose weight or you’re gonna die.” People didn’t like to hear the world was round. They didn’t like to hear that if you mass-produce some machine parts and assemble them, you can make a horseless carriage. They didn’t necessarily like to hear that if you hook up some wires to a machine with a rotating shaft, you can light a city block without any gas. People were put out of work by inspirations like that. Those who weren’t put out of work, had to change their ways of doing business in order to survive. Those who ran factories, had to tool up. Those who purchased and re-sold goods, had to fire people they personally liked, a lot. People who were elected or appointed to run infrastructures and complicated systems, were compelled by changing technology to spend money they didn’t want to spend.
A lot of the people mentioned above, given the choice, would much rather have their bodily physiques insulted if it somehow meant everything else could have stayed the way it was. But this would be contrary to the nature of living. Life is change. Life is movement. Life is messy. Sometimes it packs a whallop, like, in the form of a doctor telling you your ass is too big.
Put another way, if we regulated at every turn by the desire of the squeamish to never be made uncomfortable, you wouldn’t have a computer on which to read this very sentence. You’d have to read a book. By candlelight. And you’d be unpleasantly surprised at how few books you’d have from which to choose.
We’re entering a new age where governments are challenging reality, and they expect to win. If that’s the case, we’re due for a Dark Age that can only be brought to an end when some talented and headstrong Men of Ability, who are truly weary of the nanny-state, pack up, disappear without a trace, and move to Galt’s Gulch.
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