Sunday, October 15, 2006

NK nukes in my absence

My friend Mike links to a blogger with the handle Gullyborg who is convinced that NK's recent test did in fact involve the detonation of a nuclear device. Mike writes:

Brian wondered if [I] had been exposed to too much liberal propaganda. While that may be the case, it shouldn't have clouded [my] judgement so.

In defense of Mike, I'd say that Brian needs to remember that scientists proceed on a foundation of skeptical empiricism (something G-borg, as a scientist, should already know). Talk of "liberal propaganda" has no place here. Only a credulous fool would immediately assume that a liar like Kim Jong Il had actually done what he had threatened to do. I'm not saying Brian (or G-borg) is such a fool, but I am saying that skepticism in important matters is warranted. The surgeon who dives in and amputates the wrong foot is a fucking idiot. The good empiricist always observes before speaking or acting.

G-borg also needs to read the Korea blogs before making political assumptions: it's not just liberals who have been doubting the veracity of the recent test. Again: observe first.

[NB: If it is satisfactorily established by a majority of experts that NK did detonate a nuke, then it would be increasingly unreasonable to continue believing the contrary. I mention this because there might very well be liberals who want to latch onto the "it wasn't a nuke" claim. To those liberals I say: think about it-- if you're intent on demonstrating that Bush's NK nuke policy has failed, how exactly does a non-nuke help your case? You can't have it both ways.]

I appreciate G-borgs's claims of expertise and his well-written blog entry, and will definitely factor in what he has said about nuclear weapons in general and the NK test in particular. I recommend G-borg's post to others because it's quite informative. But I reject the thought-police tone of Brian's comment to Mike as well as G-borg's knee-jerk political assumptions. I realize Brian probably phrased his comment in a joking manner, but politics must take a back seat to science. Mike did nothing wrong by approaching the matter skeptically. It would have been scarier for him to jump on a political bandwagon on the assumption that no self-respecting conservative would believe KJI was bluffing. Does anyone seriously want to be known as the villager who always listened to the boy who cried "wolf"?


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