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Pandering to the unscientific base

The CDC just got a new style guide. According to new Trump administration rules, it is no longer supposed to use the words “transgender”, “fetus”, “science based” or “evidence based” in its publications.

Well. Talk about political correctness. I can see the long arm of the evangelical contingent, sweeping the table of any references to things that make it feel oogy. Will evolution be next or will it require a little disclaimer about how “evolution is only a theory and not a fact due to diversity of opinion in the scientific community”.

In general, scientists get a bad rap in this country. I’ll admit that when I spent most of my research career in R&D territory for 2+ decades, it never occurred to me that we were so reviled outside of our enclave. To me, the world made sense when I was surrounded by people who viewed their environment rationally, using cause and effect to guide them.

What’s weird about being out of science in another city is I am amazed at how many people would prefer it if we *didn’t* use evidence based methods to make sense of the world. No, they walk through the world where nothing is predictable, people’s motivations make no sense and rational thought is inferior to thinking with your heart and gut. Paranoia and godliness.

This is stupid. I’m allowed to say that because I’m using evidence based methods to draw my conclusions.

Case in point: there are a lot of people, including people I know who should know better, who are very concerned with North Korea gazorching a nuke across the Pacific at Seattle.

Mebbe. Mebbe not.

What I find a LOT more likely, easier to pull off and much more deadly would be for North Korea to create a bio-weapon. Oh, heck yeah. This is a piece of cake if you can mine a public sequence database and have the equipment to make some synthetic DNA, pick a vector to transfect with multiple routes of infection and play a game of Plague. (Played it. Killed off humanity several times. Then playing God lost its charm) The North Koreans could launch a thousand little new diseases and bring the west to its knees in no time. Engineer a flu that triggers a cytokine storm that takes out a lot of young healthy people. What’s to stop it?

Why isn’t the base freaking out about that much more likely scenario?

Probably because understanding that enough to be rationally fearful of it requires knowledge of evolution and evidence based methodologies and the base is much more concerned with smothering the life out of transgender people and women who have no desire to become mothers because they don’t see it as part of their destiny.

But the base should be concerned because it doesn’t take a lot of money or years of labor to make a biological weapon. Maybe what the base really lacks is the ability to imaginate. They’re really very boring and easily lead. If they weren’t so dangerous to us, we could safely ignore them.

For sure, I don’t expect anyone at the CDC to follow the new guidelines. I guess Trump could fire all of them. It would make for an interesting experiment.

Slightly off topic: earlier in the year when I had heard that Trump was planning to stifle the climate scientists and they were busily packing up their data and ftp-ing it to Canada and France, I mused on Twitter about what would happen to the public databases with NIH research, FASTA sequences and protein databases, the biggest one containing my published crystal structures.

Not to fear, tweeted one involved governmental scientist in charge of the databases, that data is being globalized so it will be safe in another country’s servers, like in Japan.

I should have been reassured.

It actually made me feel more dread, not less.


29 Responses

  1. I hope I live long enough to see this poster (is that the word on the Web?) become irrelevant.

    • This also applies to the voluntary non-voters.

      For the Purity Trolls, it was more of an intelligence test, but likewise, they failed. 😡

    • Thanks for this reminder, Ivory Bill. Saving/sharing…and always hoping.

  2. Agree with 100% of what you say. My comment is only to ensure my name gets added to the list of subversives that will now have to be monitored. Maybe if they spend enough time monitoring us, they will have less chance to fuck up the country. (I know, not a good bet)

  3. When liberals ran this country, we kicked fascist @$$ and outlasted the Commies (reactionary economic policies did not ruin our economy fast enough to save the USSR). We also put men on the Moon, and led the world in science and tech in many other ways as well. Even under the reactionary ascendancy, we retained enough technical prowess to create the cybernetic revolution.

    But look at us now. 😦

    Thanks to Stupid And Hateful White Folks, we have gone from PUTTING MEN ON THE MOON to this.

    Those people suck like the surface gravity of a neutron star. 😡

  4. I like to think even many of the people who voted for him did not envision this kind of destruction. I am sick of this fucker and can’t wait for him to leave office.

    How do you say ‘fetal alcohol syndrome?’ Maybe only educated women who didn’t vote for him are afflicted with it, not the women who voted for him? /snark

  5. You have all seen this by now, right? This is a lifetime appointment. Why would a person even accept a nomination if they don’t have the experience? ‘Trump did it’ is not an answer.

  6. This is Putin’s wet dream come true and a whole lot more. He can bring all or any countries to their knees. Did you all see the tweet from Bill Browder about Putin financing the ISIS mfers in the last couple of days? Now, why was Trump falsely accusing Obama and Hillary of founding ISIS during the campaign? Projection? How many people voted for Trump saying he would be strong fighting those mfers? I have one in my extended family. He is a smart guy, well situated in life, IT engineer and voted for Trump on that issue alone. Fuck him!

  7. OMG, another motherfucking bitch of Indian origin, Seema Verma doing Trump’s and Republican’s dirty deeds. She is going to help them run medicare/medicaid dry. Where do they find these motherfuckers?

  8. Starting the Sunday morning with this! If it sounds familiar, yes, Lincoln is using it in its commercial.

    • Absolutely gorgeous. There’s something so dark, so fever dream about it. Almost a danse macabre, no?

      • Generally, that would describe Shostakovich. But I thought this piece was one of his lighter pieces, even happy.

        • It’s truly beautiful and a waltz but I hear such a menacing note. I could see doomed lovers locked in an eternal embrace.

  9. Kevin Drum in Mother Jones:


    But again: Republicans aren’t idiots. They recognize just how unlikely this victory was and they know it won’t repeat itself. Demographic trends won’t slow down and midterm elections always go against the party in power anyway. They’re probably going to lose unified control of the government in 2018, and even if they hang on they won’t make it past 2020. This is their last chance to control the levers of power, quite possibly for a decade or two.

    That’s why they’re pushing an unpopular tax bill. That’s why they’re focused like a laser on confirming judges. That’s why they might even take on entitlement reform. They’re going to lose power shortly no matter what they do, so they’re trying to put their stamp on the future while they still have the chance.

  10. Since this concept was mentioned above:

  11. So relieved, so thankful to have found this blog. Still settling in, reading everything I can find here. Another day in the life of one 62 yr old woman, frantically searching for like-minded folks. Thank all of you. And…Karma…indeed !!

  12. I’m sick; really sick. The results are in and I have three serious infections: C-Diff, arimonis ( a rare parasite??) and Campyll Bacter.
    Two antibiotics for three days followed by two weeks of flagyl.
    Wish me well; I know you will.
    Doctor called me a “walking Petri dish;” and when I asked her if I would live, she said, “I hope so.”
    The rare parasite is usually seen when kids go swimming in infected water. You know like when adorable Buffy goes skinny dipping with the gang? Three days later, the Buffster comes down with meningitis and her hands and feet fall off. Swell.
    No more sushi for this old broad.

    • May the Ascended Madoka bless you with a swift recovery.

      I odn’t eat sushi anyway, but do you mean the doctor(s) think(s) you got the infections from sushi?

    • Speedy recovery, Sweet Sue!

    • Ohhhhh, I’m so sorry. I hope the antibiotics kick in soon. Any idea how you got this wonderful concoction?

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