1. davidnangle says

    His brother is probably a doctor. “I just want to tell you how rare this thing is…”

  2. hemidactylus says

    Oh come off it PZ you just know deep down inside that sweatshop labor is liberating women elsewhere. At least they no longer toil in the rice fields (ahem…sarcasm alert).

    “The Feminist Side of Sweatshops,” The Hill, April 18, 2017,” this cite is from Pinker’s admirable book. Yes he went there!

    “Chelsea Follett (@Chellivia) is the managing editor of, a project of the Cato Institute.” Cato does good work, no?

    So we can overlook the negative optics of the Guatemala syphilis experiment for science and the recent spate of Foxconn suicides as a downside to the carousel of progress. Or another indicator that is itself a carousel of progress the Great Pacific garbage patch. History marches on atop the backs of the little people.

  3. hemidactylus says

    I think that in bemoaning the status of the dominant lobsters in our hierarchy, who merit the just world benefits they enjoy via the Biblically enshrined Matthew effect, we do the invisible hand a great disservice:

    As the Great Adam Smith chimed so long ago:

    “The proud and unfeeling landlord views his extensive fields, and without a thought for the wants of his brethren, in imagination consumes himself the whole harvest … [Yet] the capacity of his stomach bears no proportion to the immensity of his desires … the rest he will be obliged to distribute among those, who prepare, in the nicest manner, that little which he himself makes use of, among those who fit up the palace in which this little is to be consumed, among those who provide and keep in order all the different baubles and trinkets which are employed in the economy of greatness; all of whom thus derive from his luxury and caprice, that share of the necessaries of life, which they would in vain have expected from his humanity or his justice…The rich…are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society…”

    We must thank the wealth creators and captains of industry for our table scraps, made on the cheap by exploitable labor, used and disposed on the affluenza treadmill, to occupy a garbage heap. Progress!

  4. Saad says

    So which decade would it be okay to worry about how bad the world is?

    Or would you have to first obtain a PhD in world history to make sure a previous decade didn’t have it worse, in which case the Baton of Worry must be passed down to them?

  5. rietpluim says

    To be fair, statistics provide little comfort when stabbed in the back, but they are a useful tool against creepy positions like Being Tough On Crime Because Crime Rates Are Skyrocketing, or Throw Out The Immigrants Because Life Used To Be A Lot Safer In The Good Old Days When Our Nation Was Still Monocultural.

  6. says

    Not sure what sort of fictional characters would be needed in the scene, but I can just imagine heroes running around fixing every problem they can, while some representative of an even more cartoonish Legion of Doom is standing in front of the press and saying, “So much progress has been made in the world today, compared to the past! Now, let me tell you about our new universal mind control plans…”

    The world, and the US especially, has a massive case of schizophrenia – plenty of progress, as long as you overlook all the evil being done, often by people that showed up later on, to capitalize on, and destroy, the self same progress, and replace it with dogma and fanaticism. That, or slapping a label on something worthless, and selling it for a higher price, while claiming it will “save the world”. Sort of like those orange butterfly products.. just noticed one the other day which was a package of sugar. It was non-GMO, organic, gluten free ***AND*** vegan. Wow!!! lol Was kind of surprised it didn’t include, “Not extraterrestrial”.

    But, this idiocy is going on with everything. Want to fix someone’s water problem? Well, it starts out with fixing everyone’s, then only some of them, then their selling branded bottled water, probable from the places they had the water problem, to help, “solve more water problems”. Well, not specifically that issue, but I think you get my meaning. What starts out as, “Lets solve this problem.”, by people who really have one, but no one pays any attention to becomes, “Now that someone important has the problem, lets solve a narrowly defined version of it, which only solves the problem for important people.”, then it devolves, somewhere along the line into a charity, which gives out stickers, to help “solve” the problem, while ignoring everyone that originally started the movement (and their version of the problem).

    Its not so much that the world is getting more peaceful in a broad sense, the problem is that all the scum it still burrowing under the streets. And.. once in a while you get a sink hole – aka Trump, and the like.