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Thursday, January 20, 2005

Dangerous Assumptions, Part 2

Welfare reform, the War on Terror, and the new food pyramid are reversals in policy that have resulted from the Dangerous Assumptions mentioned in Part 1 (finally) being proven wrong.

Some Dangerous Assumptions- DA for short- have not been as thoroughly debunked, but are right on the edge…

1. The earth is warming due to fossil fuels- or The Theory of Global Warming – Chrichton’s State of Fear may well put the nails in this myth’s coffin.

2. High self-esteem results in better achievement. I’ve read some studies that claim the exact opposite. But a large industry is built upon this dangerous assumption, and the entire education bureaucracy cannot collectively say “Whoops!” and start over. No Child Left Behind, however, has brilliantly bypassed the self-esteem myth. Schools can no longer claim they are doing their jobs because children feel good about themselves, because they can no longer claim that those feeling correlate to academic achievement. The academic achievement, or lack thereof, is in the numbers. The self-esteem industry claims the numbers lie, but parents and the general public have seen through this claim.

3. The UN is a force for good in the world. Most PBR (Political Blog Readers) stopped believing this myth long ago. But MSM (MainStreamMedia) devotees still have faith in the UN. Not for long. The MSM cannot hide the UN’s incompetence and inherent flaws forever. Several scandals are on the verge of becoming main stream at any moment. This is a dam waiting to break, and when it does the UN will be known for what it is… (See here for my The UN Sucks Induction Bomb: http://harkonnendog.blogspot.com/2005/01/united-nations-sucks-induction-bomb.html)

It is obvious that disproving DA earlier is better than disproving them later. The problem is that there are few people looking for them. Who could have fought to disprove the self-esteem myth when it was first posited? The children that would be hurt by the myth were mere gleams in their parents’ eyes. The parents saw no reason to question the myth- who doesn’t want their child to feel good about themselves? The scientists, or pseudo scientists, who could have and perhaps should have known better, had no motivation to speak out. Sociologists don’t get grants for finding reasons NOT to hire more sociologists.

The same dynamics were at work with all six DA listed. They were debunked because people were motivated to fight for the opposing viewpoint eventually. But this only happened after their self-interest in the issue became clear, and that only happened years after the DA ascended.

But the bell tolls for thee. DA hurt everyone.

Again, I encourage readers to list any DA, or suspected DA they can think of…

The one I have in mind is the idea that Foster Care and/or Adoption are better for children than Orphanages. This idea reeks of DA:

1. The people it directly hurts, (orphans) are powerless to fight against it.

2. No major studies were carried out to prove it was correct.

3. A major bureaucracy depends on its existence to continue.

I haven’t yet researched this issue. I’m throwing it out there, not only as an example of what to look for to discover DA, but to test my theory that DA have certain attributes…

More on this tomorrow.


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