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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day – Heresy must be suppressed

The cancellation of eminent science writers and statisticians like Dr. Whitehouse and Professor Fenton for ‘wrongthink’ highlights the ever-shrinking boundaries of the discourse around science and medicine and the unwillingness of science’s gatekeepers to challenge groupthink and politically sensitive dogmas. As Dr. Whitehouse says, “science thrives on debate and scrutiny”. Silencing those who challenge prevailing orthodoxies was the approach favoured by the Catholic church in 17th Century Italy and is completely at odds with the scientific method.

Richard Eldred.

I used to read every issue of New Scientist ‘back in the day’ but it has been a bastion of approved high-status groupthink for many years, suitable for cat tray liner only.

17 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – Heresy must be suppressed

  • Paul Marks.

    Conservatives, including myself, are often critical of Vatican II and of the 1960s generally – but the dropping of the doctrine (at least the implied doctrine – I am not sure it was ever formally stated, in the 17th century or before) that you will go to Hell, to be eternally tortured, if you do not believe in every detail of Church teachings, was clearly a gain – God is many things, but a psychopath “you did not believe in this doctrine – so you go to Hell for all eternity” He is NOT.

    The Emperor Valentinian (not a softy – for example he had draft dodgers burned alive) refused to persecute people on religious grounds (apart from a few cults that were considered a menace to law and order) and was right not to. Unlike his younger brother Valens (Emperor in the East) who did persecute heretics – which turned out badly for the reputation of Valens, as the people who were considered heretics (judged so by the great majority of Bishops and by Church Councils and the Patriarchs) later were considered correct, and the people who persecuted them were later denounced as heretics. The “Arian Heresy” being the majority Christian position in the time of the Emperor Valens.

  • Paul Marks.

    As for “scientific” journals, or university departments, dropping well qualified people because they do not approve of their opinions – on climate, or on biology (remember DNA Watson and Crick – well now Watson is left out, because he believed that there are racial differences in intelligence and modern doctrine holds that people are not allowed to believe that), well this shows that one is not really dealing with science at all – one is dealing with a Cult.

    Science depends on open debate – on the freedom to hold any opinions and to argue for them. “The Science” is not science – it is a Cult, and “New Scientist” is one of the magazines of this ANTI science cult.

    By the way – a ruler can take a stand against persecution, even in “the 17th century”.

    For example, neither Henry IV of France or King Louis XIII (the King who died of T.B. – and is King in the time of the book, rather than the film versions of “The Three Musketeers”) killed people for being Protestants or Catholics – and the Hapsburg Emperor Maximillion II did not either.

    However, Louis XIII may have killed a lot of people unintentionally.

    Concerned that his T.B. might be infectious he took “expert medical advice” and was firmly told that it was not, and he should have no concern about meeting people. So this pale man with the nasty cough continued to meet people – even leading an army to defend France from a Spanish invasion (which would have imposed tyranny).

    This remained the “expert medical position” till the mid 19th century – and is totally wrong, as T.B. is infectious.

    Who knows how many people died of the “White Death” because of “expert medical advice”.

  • Snorri Godhi

    I used to read The New Scientist occasionally (i.e. when a new copy came in), roughly speaking from 1985 to 1993, when i could find it in the departmental library. It was a substitute for an after-lunch nap.

    Even then, there were warning signs.
    There was an article arguing that British science is mostly a working-class thing, complete with data showing the opposite.

    Earlier on, there was an article on spontaneous human combustion, written by a senior policeman. I have no reason to doubt what he wrote about the cases he worked on; but his theory about the cause of SHC blatantly violated the 1st Principle of Thermodynamics. I can forgive a policeman for that, but what about the editors?

  • J

    I grew up on Scientific American in the ’60s. It is unreadable now. A shame. It is neither Scientific or American.

  • Paul Marks.

    Snorri – yes.

    J – yes.

    What has happened is that a political and cultural agenda has taken over much of “public science” – the magazines, the talking heads on television, even (and most disturbingly) quite a lot of university departments.

    I can remember when natural scientists implied that the take over over of the humanities (such as history) by the left did-not-really-matter as natural science is what the West is about.

    But then the left came for them – came for the natural sciences. And there was no one left in the universities in the humanities and social sciences to help fight off the left – and the political and cultural agenda they push.

  • Paul Marks.

    It even includes medicine – the “Public Health” agenda has turned into an ideological agenda “racism is a public health emergency” so BLM looting and burning gets a pass from Covid rules.

    Medical journals and medical bodies (supposedly sworn to help individual patients) ignored, or even smeared, Early Treatments that could have saved most of the people who died of Covid – because saving the lives of individual patients was no longer the main priority of establishment bodies, the political and cultural agenda is what is important.

    This is such a profound corruption of the West that it is difficult to express just how terrible it is.

    And it goes on today – for example their victim support groups (including one here in Kettering – advertised on the notice board at the local supermarket) for victims of the Covid “vaccines”.

    Yet the Big Lie that the injections are “safe and effective” continues.

    Did they ever really believe that the injections were “safe and effective”? Possibly – I can not see into their souls.

    But they know now that the injections are NOT “safe and effective” – yet there is no apology for the people injured and killed by the injections. All that matters is the political and cultural agenda an international agenda, of power and control.

    It was obvious from the first use of the slogan “no one is safe till everyone is safe” – no medicine in the history of the world has followed that doctrine, medicines are for individual patients, but these injections were for the “whole planet” as Mr Gates and others kept saying, with the medical establishment acting as their lapdogs. As the agenda was political – not about helping individual patients.

    “Will this help or harm my patient?” should have been their only concern – and for some medical doctors it was, for example a doctor (an NHS doctor) privately told a friend of mine who lives only a few hundred yards away, that he must NOT accept the Covid injections.

    But for the medical establishment what mattered was the international political and cultural agenda – not the well being of the individual patient.

    Again it is difficult to express how terrible a betrayal this is.

    And it is not the only example – the whole international Western system has been corrupted, from the currencies to the sciences, including medical science.

  • K2

    Read “New Scientist” 30 years ago – until they published a piece on the penguins in Argentina going blind due to the Ozone layer. They were one of the first “science” magazines to abandon actual science for political advocacy via pseudo science. Later to be followed by a host of others – see Scientific American. A book detailing how and why this happened would be welcome, important and informative.

  • DiscoveredJoys

    I used to read the New Scientist regularly. I’m pleased to say I had a subscription – because I was able to cancel it when it drifted more and more to science gossip and political opinions.

    I note that it is still published, although it is thinner and more opinionated.

  • Paul Marks.

    “New Scientist” is just one example of the corruption of the natural sciences – the humanities and social sciences have also been corrupted.

    Everything is now about the “Progressive” political and cultural agenda, open enquiry and free debate are regarded with hatred (actual hatred).

    If the West is not dead – it is certainly very ill.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    New Scientist does have some good points- when they feature articles on longevity, or treatments that rejuvenate humans by stimulating the thymus glands, I sometimes buy the magazine!

  • Paul Marks.

    NickM – the article shows ignorance of history and ignorance of basic economics. For example wages are a matter of supply and demand – they can not be increased by magic, still less by the mindless thuggery of the Luddites. No factories would have been profitable under these wage and condition regulations – not under the level of technology that existed at that time. As for worker cooperatives running all the factories – that someone would be so stupid as to belief that this would work, beggars belief.

    That this lady is a “Professor of Law” – shows that the basis of law, private property rights, has been forgotten in the United States. And that MIT would publish this ignorant rubbish shows just how unscientific they are.

    The degree of ignorance, ignorance of history, ignorance of basic economics, ignorance of everything, that dominates the education system, bodes ill for the continued existence of civilisation.

    Had the Luddites won there would have been no factories worth the name, and the expanding population would have been collapsed into starvation.

  • Kirk

    The factory system isn’t an inevitability, but that article…? Yeesh. Just… Yeesh.

    You want to see something of an alternative, analyze the Japanese system pre-WWII, with all the dispersed little family businesses feeding into the big factories. You can still see remnants of this system working today; friend of a friend went looking for specific parts that were out of production for his Toyota, discovered that they weren’t really made by Toyota, but that the guy who made them still had the dies. He paid for a limited run of the parts, went to pick them up and discovered that the “factory” was basically this gentleman’s home. He had the injection molding machines on the first floor of his house, and lived on the second and third floors. Very different system than here in the US… Can you imagine GM going to some guy operating out of his house in Detroit for critical parts?

    You don’t have to do things the way we did. I suspect that other people could have perhaps managed the industrial revolution somewhat better than they did in the UK, but the UK was the first nation in the world to do it, and there were issues. Some of which are still prevalent, or Dyson wouldn’t be manufacturing in Singapore and British Leyland would still be a thing.

    It’s interesting that the same basic set of workers produced nothing but trouble for British Leyland, and yet the Japanese came in with their factory system and got much better results out of that workforce. Per some knowledgeable people I know inside the UK factory system, a lot of the problem stems from residual class issues and the inability of middle management to actually manage effectively. In the UK system, there’s very little flow of information from the bottom rungs of the system; the Japanese managers empower the workers and actually listen to them.

    Or, so I’ve been told. Having been the victim of British factory shipping dock issues multiple times over the course of my life, I’m of the opinion that there’s something to what I’ve been told.

  • Paul Marks.

    Kirk – the degree of basic ignorance the article shows is very bad, but note the modernist tropes with supposedly “woman and children” having a big influence on the Luddites, oh how “Progressive”. The lady Professor is projecting herself back into the past – telling all these big, hard drinking, men what to do as they meekly obey, and deciding whether factories pay “living wages” and what the conditions of work should be.

    In reality Had the United Kingdom gone down the Luddite path of destruction – America would have become the workshop-of-the-world a century before it did.

    The Professor is in St Louis – a city that has followed “Progressive” policies for many years. These policies have been in disaster – most of the people have left in despair.

    But if the failure of Progressive St Louis was pointed out to her, the Professor would just scream “racist!”, “sexist!”, “homophobe!”, “Transphobe!” and-so-on.

  • Paul Marks.

    Kirk – it was not a question of “managing the industrial revolution better” – such things should not be “managed”, government intervention does harm, not good. Government intervention (let along mob violence from the Luddites) makes things worse, not better, than they otherwise would be.

    There were very severe problems of high government spending, high taxation, and inflation – but these were caused with the wars with France, ways the various regimes there forced (they were NOT the choice of London), not the Industrial Revolution.

  • NickM

    Actually what I really objected to (apart from everyone in the C19th having a difference engine in the backyard!) was the bizarrely cavalier approach to science itself. Specifically that Luddites could have been responsible for faster than light travel. That that is probably impossible in principle was completely brushed aside because the worker’s collective would, “Make it so!”

    Kinda reminds me of this:


    My Dad, who had taught Geography in Zambia back in the day, told me about it when I was a kid. I thought he was winding me up. No he wasn’t. But basically it boiled down to rolling some poor sods down a hill in old oil drums and climbing quite high up ladders, “Hey, President Kaunda, I can see my house from here!”

    Kennneth Kaunda was a despot but a fairly benign one by African standards. God knows what Idi Amin’s “Space Program” would have been like… My Dad also smuggled gold out of Uganda for Asian families. Yes, past the border guards, who were easily distracted by a carton of Marlboro and a bottle of Johnnie Walker…

    But, yeah, whatever. I mean if MIT are putting out stuff like this then what of lesser schools? I mean MIT has more Nobel prize winners than most countries and then that? BTW it was suggested to me by Firefox Pocket.

  • Paul Marks.


    Yes – I noticed what you point to.

    But it should come as no real surprise – after all people who deny economic law, who think (for example) that one can improve wages and conditions by passing regulations saying “it will be so” (without any consequences for such things as UNEMPLOYMENT), will also likely end up denying the laws of natural science as well.

    “The Workers, under the guidance of the intellectuals, have decided that there will be a perpetual motion machine – and anyone who casts doubt on this idea will be sent to a reform-through-labour camp”.

    Why not? Who is going to stop the mad Professor and the rest of the Legion of Devils?