Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

How scientists lose the average layman

Link here.

A superb essay. I have written about this myself numerable times, but sadly our modern elite intellectual society finds it somehow impossible to get the point, which Shaw sums up very well in his last paragraph:

The point of all this is simply to say that scientific conclusions change over the ages. Complicated things take time. But when you come out and start lecturing us – or worse, start telling us how the government should orient policy – based on your own favorite theory of the day while not yet proving it to a satisfactory degree (even to we simpletons) then you can expect some of us to push back and demand you show your work. And it’s not because the pastor told us to think that way on Sunday.

Read it all. It also illustrates quite well why increasingly the public does not trust scientists or journalists when it comes to hot button issues like climate change.


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One comment

  • Edward

    Shaw writes: “ A variety of theories were examined and discarded,”

    And there is the problem. What he thinks of as a theory is actually a hypothesis. A theory has passed the examination without being discarded. A theory fits observation, but could later be modified due to additional observations. This is what happened to some of the great Sir Isaac Newton’s theories when Einstein’s hypotheses were examined. Einstein’s hypotheses became theories that modified Newton’s theories. This is why science is always uncertain. Even what Shaw thinks of as fact (“What you just described [as theory] I tend to think of as a ‘fact’”) is subject to change, given an observation that disproves the fact.

    For example, it is a fact that the Earth goes around the sun. That is also the theory. But there is the hypothesis that the Earth actually travels in a straight line, but that space is curved in such a way that the straight line makes it appear that the Earth goes around the sun. If that were shown to be “true” (again, subject to change), then both the fact and the theory that the Earth goes around the sun would have to be modified.

    The “subject to change” nature of science is why science is never settled, and why a consensus of scientists doesn’t make a hypothesis “true,” into a “fact,” or into a theory. If consensus did, then Darwin’s theories would have died an early death, having failed the “consensus examination.” To paraphrase Sagan in “Cosmos,” consensus is no guarantee that an idea is not dead wrong.

    Shaw has exposed the problem with jargon. People in various industries and professions use words that mean something else in other groups. This is one reason why laws are so hard to understand, sometimes; they are written in legalese.

    He also conflates (to use Shaw’s word) process — and its result — with theory: “The process of mixing iron and carbon has risen beyond the level of theory to essentially become fact. (Assuming some wiseguy doesn’t come along next year with a new model of the atom and toss the whole thing into a tophat.)” The model of the atom, the theory, does not determine the observation, such as the strength of steel. “Some wiseguy’s” new model will not make the steel made with a given process any more or less strong, but it could change the way we understand *why* the steel is that strong. Even Shaw admits that his “facts” are subject to modification.

    Thus, he has fallen victim to his own complaint that it is difficult for a specialized profession to easily explain itself. Perhaps it is because we still use phrases such as “the sun rises in the east.” When our thinking goes against what Shaw admits is fact, then how are we acknowledging the fact? Even the phrase “climate denier” does not mean someone who denies that there is climate. Indeed, do those who use that phrase acknowledge that climates naturally change over time (as virtually every “climate denier” will tell you is “true”)?

    To comment on the original, Achenbach, article: there are the “Frankenfoods,” created through careful, scientific, and thought-out genetic manipulation. Yet the foods that were created by casual crossbreeding, by chance, or by random evolution are considered normal and safe. Go figure.

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