How to Make Sure Children Are Scientifically Illiterate

| 102 Comments

Lawrence Krauss tells us in an article in today’s New York Times. Step one: Have people who think that the Earth is only 6500 years old running your school board:

The chairman of the school board, Dr. Steve Abrams, a veterinarian, is not merely a strict creationist. He has openly stated that he believes that God created the universe 6,500 years ago, although he was quoted in The New York Times this month as saying that his personal faith “doesn’t have anything to do with science.”

“I can separate them,” he continued, adding, “My personal views of Scripture have no room in the science classroom.”

A key concern should not be whether Dr. Abrams’s religious views have a place in the classroom, but rather how someone whose religious views require a denial of essentially all modern scientific knowledge can be chairman of a state school board.

As they say, read the whole thing.

102 Comments

Let alone how someone who denies all that science could ever graduated with a degree in a scientific field and succeed as a vet!

I’m just waiting for a creationist/IDist lawyer to use John Bacon’s argument. “You found the fingerprints of my client in the victim’s blood? What’s your point? You weren’t there, and neither was I, so what are you whining about?”

Maybe Luskin will do it. No, just kidding, IDists/creos don’t use their “logic” in real life, they just use it to attack “materialistic science” where it offends them. In fact evolutionary theory would not be possible without the reliance upon scientific thinking by most of society, including puritans and fundamentalists. They have only themselves to blame that science is also used in biological matters.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Well, the “you weren’t there” argument is closely followed by “so what the evidence means is all a matter of interpretation”.

Lawyers use this tactic all the time, trying to convince juries that what seems to be damning evidence is just the other side’s spin.

Well, the “you weren’t there” argument is closely followed by “so what the evidence means is all a matter of interpretation”.

Lawyers use this tactic all the time, trying to convince juries that what seems to be damning evidence is just the other side’s spin.

“But when we win minor skirmishes, as we did in Kansas, we must remember that the issue is far deeper than this. We must hold our elected school officials to certain basic standards of knowledge about the world. The battle is not against faith, but against ignorance.”

Why isn’t the battle against ignorance AND faith? What is faith, but willing oneself to believe something to a degree of certainty which exceeds that warranted by the available evidence? And how exactly, is doing *that* ever a good idea, and why should it not be considered a failing rather than as it more commonly seems to be considered, a virtue?

The battle IS against faith, because faith leads directly to ignorance – to IGNORing evidence. Faith is ALL ABOUT ignoring evidence.

Stand up and smash the facade of faith to pieces in the public eye. Faith needs to be painted as the sheer, complete idiocy that it is.

Comment #119764

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 15, 2006 11:23 AM (e) | kill

I’m just waiting for a creationist/IDist lawyer to use John Bacon’s argument. “You found the fingerprints of my client in the victim’s blood? What’s your point? You weren’t there, and neither was I, so what are you whining about?”

Yeah really. Did Johnny Cochran try that?

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the supposed jury…WERE YOU THEERRRRRRE?”

Comment #119778

Posted by SteveC on August 15, 2006 11:37 AM (e) | kill … The battle IS against faith, because faith leads directly to ignorance — to IGNORing evidence. Faith is ALL ABOUT ignoring evidence.

Stand up and smash the facade of faith to pieces in the public eye. Faith needs to be painted as the sheer, complete idiocy that it is.

Yeah, I’m sure the christian guy who runs this site is really gonna go for that.

Well, the “you weren’t there” argument is closely followed by “so what the evidence means is all a matter of interpretation”.

Lawyers use this tactic all the time, trying to convince juries that what seems to be damning evidence is just the other side’s spin.

At least there is some legitimacy in that tactic, though. But yes, the “anybody’s opinion/claim is as good as anyone else’s” is misused by lawyers, and with more abandon, by IDists.

The bad thing about matters of interpretation is that many lawyers try to capitalize on the gullibility of jury members to pull the wool over their eyes. The good thing about a court setting is that lawyers do have limits, rules of debate, and guidelines, as well as instructions from a (we hope) learned judge.

The “anybody’s opinion/claim is as good as anyone else’s” notion has little to check it in the public sphere.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

From SteveC:

Why isn’t the battle against ignorance AND faith? What is faith, but willing oneself to believe something to a degree of certainty which exceeds that warranted by the available evidence? And how exactly, is doing *that* ever a good idea, and why should it not be considered a failing rather than as it more commonly seems to be considered, a virtue?

The battle IS against faith, because faith leads directly to ignorance — to IGNORing evidence. Faith is ALL ABOUT ignoring evidence.

Stand up and smash the facade of faith to pieces in the public eye. Faith needs to be painted as the sheer, complete idiocy that it is.

This argument has been had here many, many times and I doubt anyone will profit from an encore.

As a person of faith, let me just offer this perspective: “faith” is less about belief in some proposed set of empirical facts, and much more about deciding what is and isn’t meaningful in life. And everyone, when they decide what is or is not meaningful, has a belief that “exceeds that warranted by the available evidence”– because there is no empirical evidence that assigns meaning to the universe.

In short, we all have to go beyond the evidence. The only choice is which “sheer, complete idiocy” we choose to embrace.

Those who feel that their faith (or lack thereof) does not go beyond the empirical evidence should provide explicit support for their position from the peer-reviewed scientific literature. This support should demonstrate exactly how their position depends only on empirical evidence, without any metaphysical assumptions about what does– or does not– lie beyond the reach of empirical science.

Better yet, let’s not have this argument again at all.

“I can separate them,” he continued, adding, “My personal views of Scripture have no room in the science classroom.”

Translation: his belief in a young Earth is a fraud, which he (quietly) kicks aside when reality demands it. For all practical purposes, he appears (at this time at least) to recognize, “de facto,” that his personal belief does not stand up to real science, and is not really “true” in the objective sense in which “F=ma” is true.

Better yet, let’s not have this argument again at all.

An AtBC thread might be best for that.

SteveC wrote:

What is faith, but willing oneself to believe something to a degree of certainty which exceeds that warranted by the available evidence?

There’s a very important distinction to be made here, so read the following sentence carefully: “willing oneself to believe something to a degree of certainty which exceeds that warranted by the available evidence” is not the same thing as “willing oneself to believe something that is actually contradicted by the available evidence.” (Ditto B. Spitzer’s comment.)

Stand up and smash the facade of faith to pieces in the public eye. Faith needs to be painted as the sheer, complete idiocy that it is.

Which faith(s) are you talking about? They’re not all identical, you know.

Good comments by B. Spitzer, imo.

If you want a place to discuss such issues, the KCFS forums at http://www.kcfs.org/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi are open 24/7 also,

Kansas is doing great! But over at Bill’s Blog they apparently find the teaching of science to kids to be a laughing matter. It’s depressing how science is treated among some people.

http://cedros.globat.com/~thebrites[…]ndex_DS.html

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 1, column 65, byte 65 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

“You weren’t there, and neither was I, so what are you whining about?”

Obviously Mr.Bacon has been reading a lot of Ken Ham , since this is a “Ham classic”

SteveC,

What is faith, but willing oneself to believe something to a degree of certainty which exceeds that warranted by the available evidence?

What an idiotic definition of faith! Where did that come from? What religion defines faith that way? Certainly not Christianity. That is not the faith that is spoken of in the bible, not even close. Perhaps you are talking of Islam or an eastern religion?

For all practical purposes, he appears (at this time at least) to recognize, “de facto,” that his personal belief does not stand up to real science, and is not really “true” in the objective sense in which “F=ma” is true.

As Mark Twain put it so succinctly, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

Yeah right, where they there when God created Earth. Humans were only created at day 7.….

the site is really having issues today.

A few more, beyond just Mark Twain:

Faith, n: That quality which enables us to believe what we know to be untrue. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel. Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?), “The Devil’s Dictionary”

Faith is an island in the setting sun But proof, yes proof is the bottom line for everyone. Paul Simon

Faith: not wanting to know what is true. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)

The way to see by Faith is to shut the eyes of Reason. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Poor Richard 1758

Faith that is not skeptical of any voice claiming to be the voice of God is not faith, but fanaticism.… When society is faced with fanatics, we need more doubting Thomases, not more true believers. Rev. Robert M. Herhold

I slept with Faith, and found a corpse in my arms on awaking; I drank and danced all night with Doubt, and found her a virgin in the morning. Aleister Crowley, “The Book Of Lies”

Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits. Dan Barker

(sigh)

Is it time for another pointless religious war already . … ?

I still don’t understand whether Sal knows how lousy his arguments are, or whether he really believes them.

No, sorry, designing the simulation itself is not sneaking in intelligent design. No sorry, mutating the simulation itself is not the same thing as genetic mutation to the things IN the simulation. How many times can he make variations on these same lousy arguments and pretend he’s explaining something new or insightful?

His problem is that laypeople can grasp these things pretty darn well. The environment exists. It has various features. Populations of reproducing elements exist with heredity. They have wide variations. Put the two together, and the population is going to end up containing information about the environment imprinted onto it by virtue of what gets selected out. Furthermore, the exact particulars of the solutions aren’t going to be controlled or directed by the environment, because it isn’t the environmental features themselves that created them. The picture isn’t that complicated. That information gets added to the population is obvious. You can complain that maybe this information already existed in the environment, but in that case you are just equivocating by defining information to mean something different than what we were looking for in the first place. And under that second definition, he still loses, because the novel forms that emerge aren’t specified in the environment at all, and so are again quite easy to see an increase in the information content (it’s just that no longer are we talking about information about something, as we were before, but now information about how we can go about acheiving a particular something).

What’s left for him to say in the face of that? Nothing. So it’s long diatribes about how there are so many engineers on his side, yadda yadda yadda.

“I can separate them,” he continued, adding, “My personal views of Scripture have no room in the science classroom.”

Obviously this guy should be watched like a hawk, but I’m actually mostly willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Hell, at least he’s honest about what he believes…

If we’re going to try to stop anyone with any daft beliefs from having any sort of political control, we’re gonna be here all day.

steve s

the site is really having issues today

What I’ve been saying…

Heck, even Popper’s Ghost agrees with us, and that automatically makes it so, Mr. Sulu!

steve s

the site is really having issues today

What I’ve been saying…

Heck, even Popper’s Ghost agrees with us, and that automatically makes it so, Mr. Sulu!

Why doesn’t the site owner move this to a better service?

I mean, where’s all the millions of dollars scientists get (which is larger than the budgets of either DI, ICR, etc) going to?

Flint said:

.

As Mark Twain put it so succinctly, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

Which is why fundamentalism rejects faith because it is ‘only’ a subjective means of understanding the world and adopts a hyper rationalistic and purely objective ‘fact’ based interpretation of scripture.

They turn faith into rock solid belief in the literally unbelievable, by reading ancient texts as though they were a manual on how to repair a car or make a bomb.

To them faith is a purely relativist outlook, since they distrust their own ability to act honestly because they know, to keep the lie alive, requires them to deny reality. A calcification of the mind so impermeable to reality that it is hard to distinguish their state from the literally insane.

Institutional madness on a grand scale.

Whole countries can be gripped by this madness and its not the first time.

How do they do this? Well using the tools of modernity , ironically enough, mass media.

Propaganda is an ancient practice, wandering goat herders could preach a simple idea to small gatherings to get ‘the spin out’ that their betters the Kings and Priests of the day, their protectors and parasites ..er I mean stately fund raisers, will guarantee their safety from.….er propagandists of the tribes beyond the hills , a sort of feudal racketeering. Hey don’t laugh.….it works, especially if the competing propagandists make a few martyrs of their enemies.…that will guarantee an instant following.

Now add modern technology and fill the media, the physical communications space, with propaganda that drowns out competing messages and you have a recipe for unbridled power. Don’t believe me? Take a drive with the radio on across the USA. The airwaves are filled with a righteous jeremiad.

You name it, any idea that diminishes their hold on power or goes against the groups interests like making them equal with people worse off, and …or strangely enough, better off than themselves, the meme will win because the meme IS the groups identity.

Their enemies of course can use that weakness to their own advantage, the bigger they are the harder they fall.

Unless they are a PR company …you just wait until they shoot themselves…like Goebbels.

The story is older than Methuselah, and the cause of practically every war.

heddle Wrote:

What an idiotic definition of faith! Where did that come from? What religion defines faith that way? Certainly not Christianity. That is not the faith that is spoken of in the bible, not even close. Perhaps you are talking of Islam or an eastern religion?

Islamic and Christian faith are virtually the same. You believe in the same god, just through different cultural traditions. If someone’s talking about faith as it is relevant to Christianity, they’re also talking about faith as it is relevant to Islam. The doctrinal differences aren’t important.

A key concern should not be whether Dr. Abrams’s religious views have a place in the classroom, but rather how someone whose religious views require a denial of essentially all modern scientific knowledge can be chairman of a state school board.

I guess we should start making religious descrimination to prevent such horrible things to happen.

I can propose a question for the job interview: - Are you an anti-science, fundamentalist, Bible carrying, backward, irrational, intolerant Darwin denier person? If yes then, well, don’t call us. We’ll call you.

NEXT!

You guys are all assuming that the best argument can prevail politically. In fact, the most powerful faction will prevail and enforce its opinions on everyone else. Truthiness, not logic, is all that’s required.

Over the past few decades the Right has simultaneously revolutionized the curriculum in non-elite K-12 education to a memorize-and-regurgitate model while sneaking in as much Bible-based material as it can get away with. It’s easy to rouse the rabble to cut science funding along with art and gym, in favor of social-engineering messages such as DARE and abstinence. Meanwhile, the elite, in their publicly assisted schools such as St. Paul’s and Groton, get actual critical-thinking skills and the truth about science. This is a deliberate and clever strategy to make democracy impossible because the broad electorate cannot think, only react.

Meanwhile, in the universities, the lack of opportunity for someone whose family doesn’t have the money to support him or her through the first couple of years of grad school virtually ensures that the lower classes will not have any advanced education in the sciences. Scientists, who have mostly been a reactionary force in the universities (as they perceive the left, with its distrust of extraction industries, genetic manipulation, nuclear war, and many other blessings of contemporary science) as the enemy. Only in the last few years has their support of the GOP and its defense-based patronage come to bite them in the butt. The time to oppose the indoctrination of the masses in superstition-based reaction was 20 years ago, but scientists were too busy trying to starve the liberal arts out of existence to perceive that the closing of the American mind threatened them, too.

Consider the widespread resort to quack remedies, often ridiculed on sites like Quackwatch. Sure, it’s absurd to resort to herbal teas when advanced medicine is available. For nearly 50 million Americans, almost all employed, medicine is not available, and quack remedies are all they’ve got. When I was a kid, such seeming miracles as the conquest of polio, together with the widespread feeling that such benefits accrued to nearly all Americans, led to a widespread fascination with science and approval of its aims. The space program also gave Americans a positive view of science.

Today, for many in the masses, medicine is just another way the elite stay prettier and healthier than those who do the hard work they depend on. Biology is speeding us toward a future where an aristocracy will look like Brad and Jen and live to 150, while the unaugmented lower classes will be obviously marked for drudgery by their defective vision, skin problems, all the ails that are normal for humanity now but will be edited out of the genome of the Homo superior. Biology is also heading us toward a future in which the natural species we are used to will disappear in favor of very expensive super-wheat, meat in a petri dish, and a planet doused with insecticides, and the victims of this mad science are utterly powerless to resist. Physicists calmly plot how to make nukes useful again.

In short, for the common person, science means oppression and a horrible (possibly null) future, carried out by an elite of persons with whom they have no contact and who have engineered things so that nobody they know will be admitted to the ivory temple.

For those who are so contemptuous of faith: If the result of science and technology is the extinction of humanity as we know it in a mushroom cloud, might it not be better for people at large if Einstein and Bohr and Oppenheimer had never existed? Isn’t it possible they’d be happier under a regime of religious superstition than the brutal “truth” of science, that apparently, inevitably leads to either an unimaginable holocaust or the end of the human species thanks to genetic manipulation that will turn the lucky into supermen?

It’s easy to blame the rubes for their ignorance. It’s not so easy for scientists to own up to the degree they have allied with those who would foster such ignorance in the name of preserving their war dollars and making sure the lower classes don’t threaten their relatively cushy jobs.

Hey, the victory in the Kansas school board elections is paying immediate dividends: http://www.comcast.net/news/nationa[…]n_perfectsat.

We could reasonably intuit that we’d see this kind of turn-around, but the promptitudinousness of it is surprising!

Lindsey Eck - You misquote me in your earlier posts.

I think you mean to credit J Biggs.

If you’re not more careful with your citations, Ann Coulter’s publishers are going to give you a book deal.

Just sop you know, I try to stay short and sweet and keep it light with my comments. HTH

Re:

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 18, 2006 02:14 PM (e)

Hey, the victory in the Kansas school board elections is paying immediate dividends: http://www.comcast.net/news/national/index.jsp?c.…

We could reasonably intuit that we’d see this kind of turn-around, but the promptitudinousness of it is surprising!

I don’t know which article you’re referring to, but I loved the article about the chocolate!

Drat! I knew I should’ve checked the line, especially when I pulled it from Comcast (I’ll blame them this time, and not kludgy PT–or even my inability to learn how to do one of those “shorthand” links that won’t get cut off…).

Let’s try the msn version: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14407042/.

I’ll even check the link from “Preview” this time (assuming I can frickin’ get to “Preview”; this is getting to be a lotta work for a tongue-in-cheek comment, especially now that you’ve trumped me with the chocolate virgin “sighting.”)

I submit that humans should be pursuing technologies that benefit the greater good.

Lenny can lead him to wisdom, but can’t make him think. Give me a technology, ANY technology, and I can use it for either good or evil. Good and evil are matters of intent, they are NOT matters of the tools used to implement that intent. Think of the greatest technological developments ever: fire? the wheel? Are these “good” technologies or “evil” technologies? Golly, it all seems to depend on who’s trying to use them for what purposes.

Is it part of the creationist worldview to project purposes into their tools just like they project gods into anything that baffles them?

I submit that humans should be pursuing technologies that benefit the greater good.

No shit. Thanks for pointing that out to us.

And how, again, did you plan to prevent people from using those technologies for evil . … ?

I applaud the person who is working to prevent greenhouse emissions. See, he/she is forthright about the fact that the technology does have a purpose that is not ethically neutral.

I think it’s disingenuous to say any technology can be used for good or evil. Where is the good in the super-potent anthrax apparently produced at Fort Detrick (sp?), which was probably the source of the mail-in terrorism that killed several people a few years back. Perhaps it “can be used for good,” but I’d rather our money was not being spent on increasing the potency of the world’s deadliest microbes. I feel ethical considerations need to be given special attention (fortunately, they were) in instances such as the sequencing of the deadly flu strain of 1918. That info indeed had the potential for great harm or great good, and I think the scientists who proceeded to do the sequencing were vindicated. But they went into it with extreme caution and many qualms. That’s much different from saying, we should pursue whatever we feel like (or get paid for), ‘cause no research in itself has ethical consequences, only the applications of that research.

Sure, nuclear weapons existed in the 1960s. It was also a time when Kennedy signed the Test Ban Treaty and there was a nonproliferation treaty. Only in the Bush years has it become acceptable to talk about (1) tearing up those treaties and (2) developing new, smaller nukes such as the “bunker buster.” I haven’t heard a lot of nuclear scientists come forward and say, hey, using tactical nukes on the battlefield is really dumb because it will drive up rates of cancer and birth defects the world over. (At least I think that’s what would happen, but I’m not a scientist.)

How do I make my living? I try not to be too specific on the Internet, with its many anonymous nut cases, but I am in the communications section of a large, non-private institution whose mission is environmental protection. Before that, among other things, I worked in HIV prevention. And I’ve put my job on the line several times over ethical issues. A few years ago, when I asked a few questions about budget issues that revealed that my supposed budget was being used as a slush fund in what looked to me like Medicaid fraud, I was summarily transferred and given nothing to do for a whole year. (They didn’t want to fire me ‘cause they knew I had information that might benefit the plaintiff’s attorney in a lawsuit where we were on the other side.) Before that, the sequence of events that culminated in my being denied a tenure track (and thus my exit from academia) began when I balked at signing phony certificates of academic recognition for students who didn’t deserve them, but whose parents in Asia were the richest of their cohort and might be hoped to give money to the college. (As it turned out, they saw through the phony attempt to flatter them and gave nothing.) I might mention that some of my distaste for academia also springs from grad school, when my adviser was suspended for a year for sexually harassing a grad student and thus I lost a whole year of preparing for a degree which I, in the end, never finished (ABD). The prof continued to work on his research, funded by (who else) the Department of Defense, so it was his students and junior colleagues (one unjustly forced out of Harvard) who paid the price for his folly. So it goes.

I apologize for the harshness of the tone I’ve taken here, and my impression is that the scientists who contribute to this board are fine people who obviously have an interest in public affairs and education, or you wouldn’t be spending your time on these issues. But, as they say, politics ain’t beanbag, and (before I sign off, as I’m going to be too busy to contribute further to this discussion anytime soon), let me give some perspective, as a New England Yankee who’s been living for nearly two decades in this very red state of Texas.

About 1-1/2 miles from my trailer, Alcoa is digging a huge strip mine in an area that is not really sparsely populated. The entire county opposed this, but all seven county commissioners approved it. No doubt they’ve got nice consulting jobs waiting for them when they get out. Of course, a strip mine employs few workers, and Alcoa is not headquartered here, so (as usual) there’s little benefit to the locals in this project. A U.S. highway, long paid for by our federal taxes, that I drive frequently is being turned into a toll road, again in the face of intense local opposition, owned by a company in Spain that will reap the profits. I haven’t been able to verify this, but several people have told me that a misleadingly worded initiative in the last election will allow the government to put meters on private wells and tax us for our own water in the name of “conservation.” The real reason is to induce people to hook up to the very expensive Aqua Water Company, another out-of-Texas giant company that intends to do to us what was done to the people of Bolivia—force them to pay for water that used to be theirs. (This was one factor that led to the Indian revolt that toppled the government.) This issue was put on the ballot during a primary election the instigators knew would have sparse turnout, because some 40% of voters sat it out in order to sign petitions for one of the two independent gubernatorial candidates. The pension plan I count on for my retirement was looted by Enron. As for the delightful Merck corporation, its Medco subsidiary decided our prescription drug plan was too expensive, so they shut it down, leaving us with no prescription coverage for over a month, though we continued to pay premiums.

I think you get the picture. Texans, of whatever political stripe, see themselves treated as an economic colony by political, economic, and corporate interests that are located on the coasts. Our own legislature is famously corrupt and laughably ineffective (it meets for 20 weeks every two years) and we’re all damn sick of being exploited by people who dump their toxic waste here and dig up the resources, then sneer at us for what a dirty, backward place Texas is.

Very few people really care about evolution either way. Most of the constituents for this issue are simply falling in line behind their preachers. For non-Hispanics, the Southern Baptist denomination is by far the largest and most powerful and, in many of the new subdivisions, a suburban megachurch is not only the sole church that a person can belong to, but the only civic institution of any kind. With their schools, jacuzzis, and similar public facilities on their self-contained campuses, these churches are the only place to meet singles, use the weight room, the only social institution of any kind. (By the way, these are highly affluent neighborhoods I’m talking about. They may be ignorant, but they’re upper-middle-class, locally influential, and almost always Republican.)

So people aren’t necessarily joining because they endorse the theology, or even because they believe in Christ. But they do know that evolution is popular in the blue states, the places where the people ruining Texas live and where the profits go. So they’re happy to join their preachers in supporting an issue that helps stick a thumb in the eye of liberal America, our smug colonial master.

Continue fighting the evolution issue on the merits of the argument. After all, you’ve got the Constitution on your side. But, at least here in the Bible Belt, your adversaries are really reacting to perceived carpetbagger control of their education, and (though you may well prevent stupid things from getting into the textbooks) you won’t really overcome an anti-science attitude among people who can’t draw fine distinctions between pure science, applied science, and technology until those people can see the benefits of science to them. As for the less affluent, why should someone with no medical care (and Texas has the highest rate of uninsured) have to spend one tax dollar to support research into a medicine or treatment that person will never be able to access?

So, the struggle is much bigger than you think. Progressives can support, and have supported, science education, but (as that Prospect article shows) they are not very sympathetic to the direction, funding, and uses of research, whether in pharmacology, nuclear physics, genetic modification or, for that matter, mainstream economics. Your political efforts might involve mending fences with the left, whatever that would entail. (One thing I’d like to see: An actual scientist evaluate the claims of widespread birth defects where depleted uranium has been used. There have been a lot of such claims, but are they true? I have no idea, and I haven’t seen any discussion by a scientist who could evaluate them.)

As I say, this will probably end the discussion for me. Those who’d like to know me better can visit:

www.corneroak.com

How do I make my living? I try not to be too specific on the Internet, with its many anonymous nut cases,

That’s Anonymous_Cowards, to you.

I think it’s disingenuous to say any technology can be used for good or evil. Where is the good in the super-potent anthrax apparently produced at Fort Detrick (sp?), which was probably the source of the mail-in terrorism that killed several people a few years back. Perhaps it “can be used for good,” but I’d rather our money was not being spent on increasing the potency of the world’s deadliest microbes.

Didn’t some big name fundies, some time ago, suggest that the US should attack Muslim countries and convert them to fundamentalist Christianity using military might?

It would seem if those kind of people vote in elections, they will choose the ones who are sympathetic to such godly views.

Dear Lindsey,

If your last post had been your first post, I would have agreed with you, for the most part. Thank you for putting in the time to clear up your views. I still disagree that scientific endeavors today are less and less in the public interest, but certainly you have a valid point about the ethical implications of certain research. I believe your arguments fall more in the political realm than the scientific one. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like weapons research stops regardless of who is in control of the government. However, I think it is valid to say that it is better for our government to have the most advanced military technology rather than some other government (possibly one that wants to eradicate us). You seem like a nice person and I am sorry if my sarcasm offended you. Good luck in your endeavors.

And by the way, exposure to gamma radiation for a prolonged period of time is very likely to cause birth defects; for a graphic demonstration of the effects you can watch Chernobyl Heart. The effects of radiation are dependent on the intensity and exposure time.

Alcoa is digging a huge strip mine ..(here).. The entire county opposed this, but all seven county commissioners approved it.

The entire county may have opposed it, but apparently, nobody actually cared enough to go vote the council out of office.

It’s not distant elites pulling the strings that’s the problem, it’s the local apathetics that are too lazy to lift the scissors.

After the flame-war dust-up, I really am curious as to how y’all would answer heddle’s last question. If saying Muhammed was a false prophet and thus either a liar or a nuts is intolerant, who do you say Muhammed was? Are most of the commenters here Muslims who believe that Muhammed spoke true Qu’ran from Allah? I am genuinely curious here. What exactly is the tolerant, enlightened thing to believe about Muhammed and his claims to be a prophet sent by God and the instrument of divine revelation?

yeah i dont really know what to say so im just leaving this up here to leave this up here so yeah .…um i have nothing else to say so have a wonderful day everii bodii

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This page contains a single entry by Steve Reuland published on August 15, 2006 10:47 AM.

Take the Design Challenge! was the previous entry in this blog.

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