The sum of good intentions

Feel free to insert the more familiar or acceptable word of your choice.  But regardless of your word choice, the equation stands:

Good Intentions plus Bullshit still equals Bullshit

It doesn’t matter if you are a parent earnestly trying to help your child improve lagging developmental skills — if the information you are disseminating to newbies or news agencies is based upon bogus treatments and world-wide conspiracy theories, then the information you are giving others is still bullshit. (Example: vaccines cause autism and/or dozens of unproven “cures” for all sorts of developmental/educational difficulties.)

It doesn’t matter if you are an elected official trying to get funding for projects that could potentially improve the local economy — if your cherry-picked “experts” assert that there are no ecological problems, but the overwhelming majority of experts from agencies around the world say there will be serious consequences, then your assertions are still bullshit.  (Example: Sarah Palin on global warming, oil pipelines, and polar bears.)

It doesn’t matter if you are a news reporter trying to ensure “balanced coverage” of a story by quoting from “both sides” — when one of those “sides” lacks credibility and just presents distraught protagonists ranting over perceived injustices because fact-based reality keeps intruding upon belief systems based upon magical thinking and millenia-old folk tales, then your editorial judgment is weak and the news is full of bullshit.  Respecting others’ feelings and beliefs does not mean that those should usurp sound legislative, educational or economic practices, or be allowed to trump everyone’s civil rights.  (Example, Creationism/Intelligent Design being taught in science classes.)

Nope; the earnestness and good intentions part cannot gloss over the huge piles of bullshit.  Crap is still crap, and the best thing we can do with crap is to put it with the rest of the dead stuff and compost it, until the bacteria and worms and arthropods have broken it down into something useful.

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9 Comments

  1. Dr. T said,

    24 October 2008 at 0:15

    Andrea, you are correct about the BS surrounding autism causation from vaccines and quack cures for developmental disorders. However, you need a big dose of skepticism about anthropogenic global warming. You should find and read a copy of the IPCC report and discover how bad the science, the data, and the climate models are. For example, the IPCC knowingly used a climate model that predicted average temperatures in the polar regions that were six degrees centrigrade higher than the actual average temperatures. The IPCC then used this flawed climate model to predict ice cap melting and world-wide coastal flooding. The science and data on CO2 and global warming was even worse than the climate model.

  2. 23 October 2008 at 15:53

    [...] READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “ANDREA’S” Posted in Andrea’s Buzzing About. Tags: Critical Thinking, Skepticism/critical thinking. [...]

  3. Skepdude said,

    23 October 2008 at 15:50

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. This entry alone qualifies you for Skepfeeds. Well done. Concise, short and straight to the point. Hopefully I’ll be linking to your posts a lot in the future.

  4. Yoo said,

    23 October 2008 at 10:41

    Bullshit with good intentions seems to be worse than plain old bullshit: often it’s bullshit that won’t wash out …

  5. 23 October 2008 at 6:34

    [...] The Sum of Good Intentions.” The addition of good intentions to bullshit fails to transmutate bullshit into anything else. This [...]

  6. 12 October 2008 at 15:23

    I agree with you on all counts. Well said.

  7. 11 October 2008 at 21:10

    “The school counselor wants us to medicate him”

    Kick the counsellor in the bollocks… it isn’t that person’s job to decide on whether a person should have medications imposed on them.

    “Good Intentions plus Bullshit still equals Bullshit”

    Yup.

    In service provision terms (and I’m claiming this as Andrews’ Law):

    Bad Intentions + Beneficial Action = undefined
    Good Intentions + Beneficial Action = Support
    Good Intentions + Fuck All = Fuck All
    Good Intentions + Detrimental Action = Negligence
    Bad Intentions + Detrimental Action = Abuse

    This is derived from case histories I’ve dealt with during my years of occasional practice in educational psychology. And my own experience too, sadly.

  8. 11 October 2008 at 20:02

    I am struggling with some of those good-intentioned folks in my child’s school about the best way to educate and edify our boy who has Aspergers’. The school counselor wants us to medicate him, when I think the teacher in question just needs to read up on his condition and cultivate a little patience!!! GAH.

  9. wheelchairdancer said,

    11 October 2008 at 18:03

    Right on. Absolutely. Well said.

    WCD


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