Archives for posts with tag: history

I have been thinking for a bit on why people deny things for which there is generally solid evidence. We have global warming, the holocaust, and the theory of evolution for starters. Is it really because these concepts are incompatible with their belief system? I have concluded that it is something more. It is because of the policies based on them.

With evolution, it does go against a strictly literal interpretation of the Bible. I don’t see this as the real source behind the militant disagreement with it though. Given the chance, Christians would eventually embrace it, as they have with other unpopular scientific discoveries. What really inspires the refusal is that evolution is used as a tool to enact anti-religious policies outside the scope of the theory. By denying the theory of evolution, some Christians seek to throw atheism back to a time when it was politically impotent and intellectually indefensible.

Denial of the holocaust, particularly in middle-eastern countries,  also is rooted in policy consequences. It was because of the Holocaust that there was support for Israel to be re-established. By denying that it ever took place, Muslim leaders seek to take away both the main impetus for having to live with the Jewish State as a thorn in their side, and the stigma of having supported Adolph Hitler during WWII.

Finally there is the denial of global climate change. Like the others, it is an attempt to block policies, which in this case are designed to increase government control over society. If we could just get rid of this theory, then the doors would be open to harvesting natural resources that would spur growth in our economy, and maintain a greater degree of personal freedom and upward socio-economic mobility.

This is the problem we see here: we have a tendency to attack the tool rather than the underlying problem. This is a children’s sword-fight, where one party hits at the sword of the other party. Evolution has nothing to say for or against the existence of deity. The Holocaust has no bearing on whether there should be a state of Israel. Global warming is irrelevant to the question of to what extent a government should control or be controlled by its people. Enough sword-fighting, we need to get down to the root of things. It is time for some fencing.


Yesterday I came across this post featuring a picture critical of unhealthy food. The picture was doing a perfectly fine job of encouraging people to think about what they eat and feed their children. I did the typical human thing, and keyed in on one silly flaw.

Several of the packages of unhealthy processed food in the family’s shopping cart were prominently labelled “MSG”, which is short for monosodium glutamate. While MSG is commonly used as a flavouring agent in unhealthy foods, I had learned from Salt: A World History, that MSG is just the sodium salt of glutamic acid, an amino acid that helps compose the proteins in your body. (If you have never read the Salt book, I recommend it highly.)

So what is my point, other than defending a food additive with a scary name that gives many people headaches?

  1. Read the Salt book. It is so awesome it deserves its own post. It is up there with the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
  2. MSG is not bad if it does not give you headaches, but beware: it is often used in unhealthy foods.

As I was reading this book, it struck me how little we are taught U.S. schools about the U.S.S.R. While we learn about the atrocities committed by the National Socialist Party under Hitler, we learn virtually nothing about those under Joseph Stalin. With estimates estimates of the victims of his purges higher than the number who died in the holocaust, why do we ignore this historical figure outside his role as our ally in World War II?

That would be it, I suppose. The relationship between our country and Stalin would have been more of an embarrassment had we acknowledged just how horrible he was. Still, it is a long time since the war ended. Why don’t we consign Stalin to his rightful place of shame beside Hitler and Mao Zedong?