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Stay Out of the Red States, if You Want to be Healthy.

By       Message Ed Tubbs       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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Stay out of the red states, if you want to be healthy.
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This afternoon (Sunday, November 1), while perusing the Internet, I noticed an AOL tease concerning the nation's health, and it's worst states for health. The article, "Stay away from these death states," referenced via the above, identifies them, from the worst to the worst of the worst, as George Bush and his acolyte cronies were want to say about the Git'mo detainees: Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama . . . and can we get a funereal dirge roll of the drum for "The Very Worst of the Worst of All?" MISSISSIPPI.

Is it just coincidence, bad luck, that with but one exception, that of West Virginia, every one of the bottom 10 US states for both health and education are both politically very conservative and the bastion of the Bible-belt?

No, it is not bad luck! As Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner make clear in their book Freakonomics, evidence matters. And when it comes to the variables of a polity's education level, the cultural strength of its religious beliefs, and the physical and economic health of the citizenry, the strength of the statistical correlation of the variables is glaring! Like walking from a darkened theater into the bright of a sunlit summer afternoon . . . it painfully attacks the eyes, so much so that the urge to look away is overpowering. Regardless how strong might be the compulsion to look away, to not see what is hitting you in the face, it's important -- Nay, it's absolutely critical to one's very survival -- to not retreat into the palliative state of denial.

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Statistical correlation does not show causality. Demonstrating that is the task of research that follows precisely the scientific method. Faith has no place, ameliorating ills, only in helping one cope with them. But if you want to overcome ills that are plaguing an individual, or an entire society, one must first of all reconcile with and accept the proposition that if faith gets in the way, it is faith that must yield to the evidence that is produced by the research, not the research that must bend to faith. Recall the Catholic Church's erroneous position concerning Galileo and his heliocentric theory, that it is the earth that revolves about the sun, not the other way around. And ponder where we would be today if faith had won out, rather than the evidence produced by Galileo and those who followed in his path?

I have been for years begging all I meet, when the issue of conservatism (and religious faith) arise, for just one person to tell me one positive attribute that is idiosyncratically conservatism's and religious faith's alone. My years of beseeching have gone unanswered. In the referenced report that was released today, that plaintiff cry takes on triage-critical urgency; triage-critical because people are dying, and people are suffering terribly.

While one is certainly entitled to believe what one prefers, and to worship whatever promulgated deity one wants to, I submit that no one person, as has no entire group, the right to damn to death and to agonize entire populations on altars to blind adherence to propositions that have zero credibility and evidence behind them.

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It is time to leave the cave, to bravely enter the bright lights and to take on unafraid the challenges confronting us. Perhaps we'll fail. Perhaps we won't succeed, entirely. One thing, however, is beyond all challenge: so long as we stubbornly hold onto ways and notions that are without the foundation of evidence, so long as we refuse to make the effort to strive toward success . . . we'll never reach it, it will always be elusive, out of reach. Insofar as the red states go, anyone can argue the facts but the facts lead where they lead. And where they lead is to nowhere a thinking person would ever voluntarily elect to go.

-- Ed Tubbs
Palm Springs

 

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An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."

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