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13 August 2005

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Excellent post. This kind of willfull dismissal of unpleasant facts, at the level of theory, involves the creation of "inconceivables" -- and yes, the Shawn Wallace character from the Princess Bride movies is an apt version of this. Within a given theory, or system of thought on a larger scale, certain possibilities are excluded; in fact it is their exclusion that gives a theory its apparent strength.

In this case, Bush has repeatedly asked, agog, "How could anyone say we are better off with Saddam in power" The grand theory you mention presumes it is not possible that an invasion in the name of democracy could produce a regional and global insecurity that is worse than a delusional dictator with fantasies of WMD. And while we watch, the "inconievable" does not mean what Bush thinks it means.

And the really nasty part about such inconvievable possibilities is they usually lie right at the fatal flaw in a sweeping idea.

To see clearly, one must be willing to have one's theory falsified. Not unlike the contretemps over ID and evolution, if you remove the necessity of being able to be wrong, judgment is gone and only abstract faith in one's beautful theory is left.

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