A personal scorecard:
This one is about me.

From time to time I think, “All right.  It takes consanguinity to have enough babies to survive.  That has been proven.  If we don’t worry about it, we are simply doomed.  That much I am sure of but nobody else seems to care.  Am I right and everybody else on the planet and every voice from history wrong?  How could I dare think so?”  All right.  I am not totally alone, but pretty close. 

It doesn’t bother me.  The fact is that I have been here before.  Here is a list of things I have believed and the current state of knowledge.  I haven’t kept track of all the times I was flat wrong.  They are too numerous to count, but mostly they have been trivial matters.

1960’s I was shown at Harvard Medical School some genealogies that had been collected by a man who was trying to prove that genes were inherited the same way in humans as in beans and fruit flies.  He showed that mental challenges could be so inherited and could occur in a homozygous state when cousins married.  This data was latched on by the anti-cousin marriage eugenics enthusiasts.  It was not his point.  He also found large number of other things that followed the same pattern.  The eugenics villains did not admit that their numbers were uncontrolled.  They did not compare the number of mental problems in that population with a population in which there was less consanguinity.  Had they done so, the opposite conclusion would have been reached.  Rh incompatibility was so prevalent that it dwarfed all other genetic problems combined.  But the truth never fazed eugenics. 

Three things were very obvious from the data.  Most of the conditions were trivial.  Yes there was a lot of consanguinity.  And most importantly those were really big families.  I concluded that if you ever wanted a lot of babies, consanguinity was the way to go.  At the time it was a solution without a problem.  We were being hammered with the message that there was a population explosion which would destroy us.  That itself was very strange.  If overpopulation was a problem, why in the world would we ever for any reason accept immigrants?  But the message I got was: Immigrants good.  Babies bad.  Little has changed in the dominant voices on that front.

Outcome: I was completely vindicated by the Iceland study I cite so often.

1970’s While I was studying in Sweden a kind friend lent me a book on black holes.  While reading it I realized that there was a fundamental paradox in physics and cosmology that could be resolved simply by assuming that time ran backwards.

Outcome:  Total failure.  I attempted to get any number of exalted experts to consider the idea.  I even talked with John Archibald Wheeler, who coined the phrase black hole.  Nobody had the slightest interest.  Over the years the number of paradoxes has steadily increased.  I have yet to be proved wrong. 

1970’s I invented a microscope and telescope that exploited the fact that most of the focusing power of the eye comes from the interface between air and tears on the cornea.  By immersing the eye in water, this refraction could be canceled along with its inherent refractive errors.  The idea was so bizarre that the patent office denied a patent because it couldn’t possibly work.

Outcome:  I was completely vindicated when my patent lawyer took my device to Washington and showed them.  I got my patent.

1970’s By looking at blood type distributions I became convinced that the pre-Celtic population of Britain still survived in significant numbers and they were a significant component of the Scotch Irish, who had made America free and kept her strong so long.

Outcome: I was more than vindicated.  They changed the definition of Celt for political reasons, but the people survive in enormous numbers.  I was wrong on the blood type, though.  There were two distinct pre-Celtic populations, both surviving

1980’s I became convinced that the veterans from the Vietnam War were dying at an appalling rate after having returned home alive and well.  Nobody believed me.  I put a major effort in to get the matter investigated. 

Outcome: I was completely vindicated two years later when the NIH published a study that verified the problem.

1980’s I took an interest in wing tip vertices and pondered changes in wing tip design and the design of the bow of a boat.

Outcome: None of my designs came into production, but changes have been made indicating that the same principles I was working on have been taken into account. 

1980’s I got the hunch that glaciers contained interesting but dangerous caves. 

Outcome: I was completely vindicated when some Germans started exploring such caves. 

1980’s I took the position that circumcising healthy boy babies was barbaric and inexcusable. 

Outcome: Others now think the same.  (Against the Cut ECONOMIST vol. 399 no. 8734 May 21, 2011 page 34)

1990’s I found from historical data that the failure of fertility in the absence of consanguinity was the single most potent force in culture and history. 

Outcome: Still working on that one. 

2000’s I watched the World Trade Center burn and collapse and thought that skyscrapers aren’t supposed to do that.  I spent a few minutes on the internet and found that when the thing was put up, halogen fire extinguishers were legal.  That ceased to be the case.  The complex was under the direction of the Port Authority in New Jersey.  They did not do fire inspections in New York.  New York did not inspect them because they were under the direction of the Port Authority.  I suspected that they inspected themselves and kept the records on site.  Thus there was a question of a fire code violation or, if not, whether we ought to change fire codes.  Buildings can survive airplane strikes.  The Pentagon did. 

Outcome: Nobody is interested. 

2000’s During the run up to Gulf War II I thought, “Saddam Hussein has no way out.  If he does not fight he goes on trial for war crimes.  It would be better if he would just go away without a war.” 

Outcome: Others are beginning to see that sort of logic.  (It had been possible in the past for political monsters to retire.)  The ECONOMIST mentions the issue.  (You Can Run, but Can You Hide? ECONOMIST vol. 399 no. 8734 May 21, 2011 page 68)

2010’s I regarded the way bin Laden was killed – the Seals were under orders that led to their getting the monster at their mercy and then killing him – was shameful as well as unconstitutional.  Killing somebody at your mercy was something the bad guys did.  And there is no way the constitution gives the executive branch the power to try a person in absentia and then kill him.  The constitution requires due process and requires the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.  Since he is dead and thus cannot be tried and no charge against him legally provable, he must be considered innocent by all loyal American citizens for all time.  I think that is too good for him … I mean that is if he was guilty, which I must presume he was not. 

Outcome: Give me a break. 

So you see I don’t feel at all uncomfortable disagreeing with the vast sweep of people with power.  Sometimes I’m even right. 

I am surer of this one than I have been of anything else.

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