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National Geographic goes hyper-political

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By:John Seiler | July 15, 2015

Every mid-July, I think back to the Apollo 11 landing on the moon back in 1969. I was a kid back then and followed everything about the space program. I still love all the documentaries about early space exploration and such dramatizations as “Apollo 13.”

The moon landing was the apogee of American civilization, when the whole ethical-political-technical situation in the country, despite many earthbound problems that later would get worse, could blow billions to hurtle men into the heavens and land them on the moon, then bring them back. Downhill since.

While checking out some Apollo stuff online, I came across a recent front-page article in National Geographic magazine, “Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science?” Subheadline: “We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from climate change to vaccinations—faces furious opposition. Some even have doubts about the moon landing.”

This is a genre of leftist writing I’m sure you’re familiar with: “The American people who pay our salaries are a bunch of ignorant rubes who need to be told what to think and do.”

Even though denial of the moon landing is what entices people to read the piece, there’s only one actual sentence about it: “In the recent movie Interstellar, set in a futuristic, downtrodden America where NASA has been forced into hiding, school textbooks say the Apollo moon landings were faked.” So author Joel Achenbach doesn’t even provide a real-word example, just a movie plot line!

I know folks who believe the moon landing was faked. They hold that belief not because they maintain “furious opposition” to the science of the moon shots; nor do they “doubt science.” They just believe the government is lying. So it’s political denial, not scientific. Given how much government lies to us about everything that’s really important – the Iraq War will be a “cakewalk,” Obamacare is the “Affordable” Care Act, Social “Security” will be there when you retire – is it any wonder people distrust the government’s word on a NASA project from 1969-72?

Moreover, ever since the Apollo program ended, NASA has been utterly incompetent. The Space Shuttle was advanced by Nixon as a flying pork program with a tendency to blow up. Currently, NASA can’t even put a man in space, something it could do in 1961, and has to depend on the dreaded Russkies and their Khrushchev-era commie rockets.

Speaking of which, the National Geographic article attacks fluoride opponents with a quote from another movie, “Dr. Strangelove.” Gen. Jack Ripper says, “Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face?”

Again, this really is a political issue more than scientific. Why is it wrong for Americans to debate what is put in their local water supplies?

Moreover, it isn’t just the right-wing rubes made fun of in “Dr. Strangelove” back in 1964 who are wary of fluoride. As the NG article notes, in 2013 Portland, Oregon voted against introducing the chemical. But that’s an ultra-progressive citadel, not a right-wing city.

National Geographic carps, “Actually fluoride is a natural mineral that, in the weak concentrations used in public drinking water systems, hardens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay—a cheap and safe way to improve dental health for everyone, rich or poor, conscientious brusher or not. That’s the scientific and medical consensus.

“To which some people in Portland, echoing antifluoridation activists around the world, reply: We don’t believe you.”

But according to the Centers for Disease Control under the liberal Obama administration, “Dental fluorosis is caused by taking in too much fluoride over a long period when the teeth are forming under the gums. Only children aged 8 years and younger are at risk because this is when permanent teeth are developing under the gums. The severity of the condition depends on the dose (how much), duration (how long), and timing (when consumed) of fluoride intake.

“Increases in the occurrence of mostly mild dental fluorosis were recognized as more sources of fluoride became available to prevent tooth decay. These sources include drinking water with fluoride, fluoride toothpaste—especially if swallowed by young children—and dietary prescription supplements in tablets or drops (particularly if prescribed to children already drinking fluoridated water).”

Why is debating this subject anti-science?

The NG article also brings up “climate change” denial. But just a decade ago, it was called “global warming” denial. Why can’t we debate something whose very name keeps changing, getting less definite? In the 1970s, the concern even was about “global cooling.” And some scientists now, in 2015, are warning about a “mini ice age” starting in 15 years.

Is it anti-science to bring up these scientific hypotheses? Isn’t the heart of science conjecture and refutation? Don’t scientists have to make specific, replicable experiments that can be tested by those outside their particular labs or study groups?

Apparently not, according to National Geographic. Like in the Soviet Union under Lysenko, today science is politics.

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