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Younger Generations in West Losing Touch with Physical Reality: 2

May 12, 2021 21 comments

In the previous post of this series, I wrote about how the West (but especially its younger generations) have lost touch with physical reality. In that post, I made the point that people below a certain age are unusually eager to believe in technological progress, even though we live in an era where major technological progress hasn’t occurred in every single major area for at least two decades. And that is not an exaggeration, since even widely touted areas of progress such as technology behind highly-integrated smartphones have been around for over two decades. The only thing which has really changed about them is they cost less (largely due to manufacturing being outsourced to Asia) and there have been some incremental improvements in their performance. Curiously enough, these improvements have not really improved the speed of response or general usability of smartphones for a full decade.

People today are even more eager to believe in the promise of technological progress than they were in the 1950s-1990s, when the last wave of such progress occurred. That is why, for example, people want to believe that SpaceX will magically and totally revolutionize the space launch industry, electric cars will magically displace ICE-powered cars or why they believe that silly valley startups will magically revolutionize ‘insert random utility or industry’. You might have noticed that I kept using the word ‘magically’ in previous sentence, and yes.. it was not accidental. These people are displaying magical thinking of the sort seen among true believers in religions and cults. So what is the difference between magical and rational thinking?

Here is an example: what would you you use to treat.. say.. a upper respiratory infection most likely caused by some bacteria? Most of you might immediately say- antibiotics! OK, but which ones? Also why would you not use certain antibiotics? The thing is.. the few species of bacteria most commonly associated with community acquired upper-respiratory infections are sensitive to most available antibiotics. In other words, you could use a third-generation cephalsporin as Cefpodoxime, Cefdinir or Cefuroxime- and it would work very well. But you can almost always get away with using older ones such as Cephalexin, Amoxicillin / Clavulanic acid, Cefprozil or Azithromycin. But what is the connection of this apparent aside to the topic of magical thinking? Well.. because in past two decades many ideology driven doctors have started pushing the dangerous idea that we should not treat sore throats which look very likely to be caused by bacteria (at least partially) with antibiotics.

So why is this an example of magical thinking? See.. while many cases of sore throat are caused by viruses, there is often some secondary bacterial involvement. To make matters worse, the clinical presentation caused by Group A streptococci (most problematic bacterial species for sore throats) is often not typical. To put it bluntly, even if 90% of patients get little to no benefit from taking a antibiotic for sore throats, it will have a disproportionately large therapeutic effect for the minority who would otherwise get much worse or even end up in the hospital. Given that most commonly used antibiotics are extremely safe, it does not make sense to hold them back since the risk of harm from not giving them is thousands of times higher than the risk of prescribing them. This is also why you would user older and more well-known antibiotics than newer ones, even if the later are slightly better than older ones for this condition. But what does this have to do with topic of this post?

One of the key features of people losing touch with reality is that they become unable (or unwilling) to see the bigger picture. So let us talk about some ivy-league morons first came up with the dumb idea that treating sore throats with antibiotics was a bad idea. It all began when metrics-driven styles of management wanted doctors to find quick solutions for combating antibiotic resistance. See.. the biggest real contributors to antibiotic resistance is the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in industrial meat farming and hospitals full of very old and sick patients. However doing anything about these two main causes of antibiotic resistance requires a fundamental rethink of how we do those things. It is much easier to pretend that treating community acquired upper-respiratory infections is a major cause of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Trying to solve the wrong and insignificant problem is another feature of magical thinking.

Now you know why corporations (and mostly white liberals without any useful skills) push bullshit ideologies such as “Critical Race Theory”, “Wokeness”, “Equity not Equality” and a whole lot of nice-sounding bullshit which does nothing to address the underlying causes of problems they purport to solve. But why so so many in younger generation go along with that bullshit. Well.. some do it to avoid confrontation while others for maintaining their relative social position. However, too many wholly or partially believe this bullshit. Yes, I am making the case that a significant minority to slight majority in younger generation actually believe in all that bullshit! But how can I make such a statement- where is the evidence? OK.. tell me how charlatans such as Robin DiAngelo, Ibram X. Kendi and many others manage to sell so many books. Is anybody putting a gun to the heads of those who buy their books and regurgitate the trash contained within those books?

How else can you explain how “Critical Race Theory” based programs and ideas has been adopted so enthusiastically by HR departments in addition to schools and universities across the country? Do you really think that all these people are getting their marching orders from a few people at top? Have you ever considered the possibility that many of its enthusiastic promoters actually believe in that bullshit? Since we are almost at a thousand words, I will stop this post here. In next part I will show you how this form of magical thinking is behind many contemporary movements such as modern anti-natalism, environmentalism, “green energy”, “recycle everything” and other related bullshit ideas- or how magical thinking behind support for Bernie Sanders during 2016 and 2020 presidential primaries. Here is a hint- it has nothing to do with his support for socialism.

What do you think? Comments?