the dangers of burying facts

Readers of the New York Times may have noticed an article about the alarming resurgence of polio in several areas of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa; several immediately took to Facebook to complain that the US hasn’t been doing enough in the area of medical aid to less-developed nations. As ever, facts are rarely important when a good opportunity to flog ourselves comes up:

Despite more than 20 years of eradication efforts, two strains of polio have spread out from northern Nigeria and northern India — both places where many Muslims have resisted vaccines because of rumors that vaccine efforts are a Western plot to sterilize them.

Pretty sure that’s not the case, but the religious leaders in question make a very good case for selected sterilization.

pessimism we can believe in

Yeswecanhopechange, it seems, stops at science’s edge: the New York Times‘s John Tierney notes that his august holiness President-Elect Barack Obama (peace be upon him) has selected Dr. John Holdren as White House science advisor. Dr. Holdren was a key ally of pessimistic entymologist and alarmist Paul Ehrlich during the latter’s famous bet with Julian Simon, and would a decade later be a part of Scientific American‘s scathing rebuke of Bjorn Lomborg’s blasphemous scientific critique of Global Warmism.

I would think that bowing to the Malthusian OMGWTFBBQ!!!!11one lobby, the Wahhabists of science, is the opposite of, y’know, hope and hope-related change. But maybe it’s just because I’m a heathen who hasn’t yet accepted Barack in my heart.

[via Marginal Revolution and Gautam’s shared links]