×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Scientists Decry Political Interference

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the keep-your-hand-out-of-the-till dept.

United States 248

RamblingMan writes "According to the BBC, the American Union of Concerned Scientists has put out a statement about the misrepresentation of date and a list of such interference by the U.S. government in scientific research. Besides the usual slew of Nobel Laureate signatories, they provide a number of examples besides the well-known example of the EPA's Global Warming Report." From the BBC article: "'It's very difficult to make good public policy without good science, and it's even harder to make good public policy with bad science,' said Dr Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security. 'In the last several years, we've seen an increase in both the misuse of science and I would say an increase of bad science in a number of very important issues; for example, in global climate change, international peace and security, and water resources.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

248 comments

Double standard... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245594)

Politicians are allowed to interfere in Military decisions, and in Financial ones, and of course, Health and Medical, etc. Why do these scientists think they are above the regulator arm of BIG GOVERNMENT.

If they get an exception, I want one too...

Where does all that money come from? (2, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245736)

Many scientific organisations came into being due to cold war era military etc funded exercises which were justified by political goals. Why should things be expected to change now?

Re:Double standard... (5, Insightful)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245908)

Because ideally scientists provide information for making decisions (military, financial, etc.). The same reason you check your weather before deciding to have a picknick.
And the same reason you look at a label on the bottle before deciding whether to drink it... Instead of drinking something first, then deciding what it should say on the label ("joro spider toxin?")

A recent example is Iraq:

What should have been: (WMDs found?) -> (if YES, should we go to war?) -> (if YES, go to war)
Instead we got:        (we want to go to war) -> (WMDs found?) -> (if NO say YES) -> (if YES, go to war)

Re:Elitist mentality (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246078)

So basically, you think scientists are "special" and should basically be above any kind of government regulation. Thats so typical. You want to make the rules for everyone else, but not be subject to the consequences of the will of the people.

Even federal judges are subject to oversight. You would elevate science beyond that. Obviously, you have no credible experience in public policy.

And why even have Ethics involved with science at that point, because after all, its just outside government intervention. Kinsey should be allowed to experiment with 50 year old men having sex with 11 year old girls. Human fetuses should be grown and harvested for medical cures. Etc. If a scientist thinks its for our own good, who are we to stop them?

Re:Elitist mentality (5, Insightful)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246306)

They are "special" where their public intelligence duties are concerned.

The same as doctors are "special" in their duties of preserving human life (even though killing off certain patients would save our insurance companies money)

Cops are "special" in that they uphold the rule of the law and not the will of a dictator (the reason Clinton could not throw all the Republican voters in jail in this country).

Shouldn't the voters decide what the truth is?

No. Voting the Earth flat will not make it so. Evolution will not disapear no matter what people believe. It will not stop raining the moment you impeach your Local8 weatherman. Voters can make up their policy given the facts, but they should not make up the facts

Re:Elitist mentality (4, Insightful)

MrCoke (445461) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246308)

What are you talking about ? There is oversight on scientists. It's called peer review.

Re:Elitist mentality (5, Funny)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246440)

So basically, you think scientists are "special" and should basically be above any kind of government regulation. Thats so typical. You want to make the rules for everyone else, but not be subject to the consequences of the will of the people.

That's right. Science is simply an extension and justification of popular opinion. Too many of these elitists seem to think it's about objective study of the nature our universe.

I think the government hasn't gone far enough. All scientists should be denied funding until they provide conclusive proof of the existence and location of the Garden of Eden, our common ancestors in Adam and Eve and that God is white and conservative. Funding any research until that is done should be an offense attracting the death penalty. By public burning at the stake.

While we're at it, how come meteorologists get off so lightly? There's an example of elitism right there. From now on weather forcasts should always be for perfect beach weather in coastal areas, perfect snow cover in the mountains, and just the right amount of rainfall for the farms. All year round.

This is clearly the only way forward

Re:Elitist mentality (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246486)

So basically, you think scientists are "special" and should basically be above any kind of government regulation.
It's not only he who thinks so but society at large. This is called academic freedom. The rationale for its existence can be found it you see what happens when it does not exist, a prime example is "Lysenkoism", death toll: 30 million people in China alone.
Academic freedom doesn't mean scientists are completely unregulated, in fact, there are many ethical restrictions placed on them when conducting research (and for good reason, I assume I don't have to point out historical examples here...), however, it means that the direction of the research and the publishing of conclusion ought to be unrestricted so it may come under the review of the scientist's peers.

Re:Double standard... (5, Insightful)

wsherman (154283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246260)

If they get an exception, I want one too...

Actually, the complaint is that politics is too separated from science. Politicians are ignoring real science and creating a falsified pseudoscience to replace it.

Science, at it's core, is about recognizing and organizing patterns in factual observations. Government, at it's core, should be about a lowest common denominator - things that the vast majority of people can agree on. This lowest common denominator is factual observations.

There is considerable debate over the existence of a God entity but there is very little debate over the existence of gravity. Gravity can be observed. Governments should take the existence of gravity into account when making their decisions. Governments should not take the existence of a God entity into account when making their decisions (unless/until the existence of a God entity can be established as a matter of factual observation).

If a pattern of factual observations is indicating the global warming is occurring then governments should take this into account. Governments should always take factual observations into account regardless of whether the decision is military decision or a financial decision or any other decision.

The basic message to the government is this: "Don't ignore factual observations when making decisions."

Re:Double standard... (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246970)

It's not so much about the government interfering with "Scientific decisions" - which seems absurd, as scientists generally don't make political decisions. It's more about politicians interfering with science itself. Like all this bullshit over banning stem cell research.

It's also about politicians distorting and lying about the reports and findings of scientists. That is just as abhorrent when the politicians are distorting intelligence reports, or financial ones. So no, it's not a double standard. The politicians should be condemned whenever they distort and lie about stuff.

what do you expect... (2, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245606)

According to the BBC, the American Union of Concerned Scientists has put out a statement about the misrepresentation of date and a list of such interference by the U.S. government in scientific research.

What do you expect from a man who can't even pronounce "Nuclear" properly? Honestly?

Re:what do you expect... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245682)

Scientist: Stop the misrepresentation of date!!!

Scientist: (But oh yeah, please continue the massive government subsidies that my lab relies on for its existence.)

Re:what do you expect... (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245854)

Don't pretend like it just started now...People have been twisting science to meet political/economic ends for as long as there has been science. Admittedly, the Shrub administration is hugely anti-intellectual, but that just means that their bad science is more obvious.

Frankly as long as there is money/power at stake where scientific findings are concerned, there will be biased, skewed science. Scientists are no less susceptible to bribes and threats, and no less prone to intellectual whoredom than regular people.

Re:what do you expect... (5, Insightful)

Slur (61510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246160)

Erm... Actually, no. In general scientists are far less prone to intellectual whoredom than regular people.

I think if you look into this issue more closely you'll find that the issue is not corruption of scientists, but misuse and misrepresentation of their findings.

No scientist who acts as you imply could long remain employed as a scientist. The moment he (or she) published his (or her) findings that would be pretty much the end of it. Every published scientific study of any wide interest is peer-reviewed, scrutinized, and confirmed or refuted by many other scientists. Whenever a scientist is found to be massaging data he gets peer-reviewed into oblivion and his reputation is forever screwed. These are known in the business as "flaps" and you can find many examples of them.

Just on the practical level, consider how scientists operate in the real world. Scientists rarely work alone, and rarely are they the only individual looking into a class of phenomena. So frankly, one lone scientist with an agenda in a research group couldn't have much of an effect. You'd have to get a whole team of rogue scientists -- not an easy thing to do since Doctor Evil recruited them all to his research team back in the 60's.

In science there are few, if any, Karl Rove's. However, in politics there are plenty of reptiles anxious to suppress, distort, downplay, and misrepresent scientific findings. So this is what you get: Lackeys inserted at NASA to curtail serious climate research; findings reports edited and suppressed by the corporations that fund the research.

Re:what do you expect... (2, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246924)

Are you kidding me? It varies field by field, and some fields are much more susceptible to what the GP is describing. Political, medical, language science, economics, and history (just to name a few) are ones obviously influenced by all kinds of cultural and political biases. And don't tell me that these are not "real" sciences, for in each of these fields one can apply the scientific method. The only bogus science today, I think, is psychology. (Flame away, that's not my point.)

Just on the practical level, consider how scientists operate in the real world. Scientists rarely work alone, and rarely are they the only individual looking into a class of phenomena.

Yeah, they work in communities and cliques, and some of these communities are heavily biased, and some of the cliques are bought out. So they have their peer review and wide acceptance of their methods and results, no matter how loopy they are.

Re:what do you expect... (0, Troll)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17247004)

Two words can refute all you just said about science being less prone to intellectal whoredom.

Cold Fusion
or
Global Warming

Pick one and explain HOW neither one is/was subject to intellectal whoredom either for or against the premise. When scientists whore they whore big.

Re:what do you expect... (5, Interesting)

zstlaw (910185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246460)

That may be true but it was taken to new (heights/depths) by the current administration.

When the current administration came into power and were looking for a executive to head the CDC they replaced the Nobel laureate whom was the current director. And the interview where he was removed consisted of two questions. (Second hand from a former director at Center for Disease Control)

1) Are you a republican
2) Did you vote for this president.

That explains just about everything you need to know about our current administration folks. That is the same treatment the military and other branches of government received. It helped push the administrations policies, but the person who was selected was completely incompetent. (Think FEMA) But the only criteria the administration cared about was loyalty. This absolutely destroyed the CDC. New policies included bureaucratic overview of what was considered publishable and bureaucrats deciding certain studies were flawed despite no experience in the field.

Essentially the scientists were told what results they were required to give and had to conduct studies to prove them. Pretty much all of the top scientists fled so they could actually continue doing science. The CDC parking lot is almost deserted these days. And this is one of the most important scientific establishments in the nation. (The rest of the National institute of health received similar "adjustments")

Agreed in general, but small correction... (1, Interesting)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246932)

Scientists are no less susceptible to bribes and threats, and no less prone to intellectual whoredom than regular people. should start with "modern publically/govt. funded scientists". Modern "science", since just before WWII (if you have to put a threshold somewhere) was too dependant on government grants, which (surprize!) were funnelled to things having military/national pride/ national "happiness" applications (in that order).

Before that time the great minds who called themselves "scientists" were mostly financially independent, if not outright wealthy -- thus, much more independent of public opinion and public funding.

Scientists working for private corporations (old Bell Labs or IBM T.J.. Watson center, anyone?) tend to have a bit less of this whoredom, I hope.

But whining academics do get on my nerves! :)

Paul B.

Re:what do you expect... (3, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246018)

I'd like to point out that Carter also pronounced it "Nucular", and he went to the Navy's nuke school.

Re:what do you expect... (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246266)

Of all the stupid stuff he does, it is realy a waste of time to talk about how he pronounces Nuclear.

Re:what do you expect... (1)

Slur (61510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246466)

Exactly. Bush rushed the US into a useless war for fictitious reasons. Carter authorized the funding of a genocidal war against the people of East Timor. Neither of these actions had anything to do with their pronunciation of nuclear ...

However, one wonders if their disregard for linguistic aesthetics implies a corollary disregard for truth and beauty.

Re:what do you expect... (1, Troll)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246468)

FTA: Campaigners say that in recent years the White House has been able to censor the work of agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration because a Republican congress has been loath to stand up for scientific integrity.

Funny how they never complained when the White House was doing far worse stuff than this [hoover.org] under Al Gore...

Re:what do you expect... (4, Interesting)

salzbrot (314893) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246762)

Oh, so Al Gore had a problem with S. Fred Singer [wikipedia.org] founder of the Science Environmental Policy Project [wikipedia.org], that claims that global warming is not happening and who "was also on a tobacco industry list of people who could write op-ed pieces on 'junk science,' defending the industry's views." [ucsf.edu]

This is definitely far worse than the current administrations censoring of the science done by EPA, NASA and FDA.

Re:what do you expect... (1)

OwnedByTwoCats (124103) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246776)

Yet another example of a conservative who cannot comprehend what he reads.

The allegations concern "then-Senator (later vice president) Al Gore". Which means the allegations were made about activities that happened when Bush was President.

Misrepresentation of Date? (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245614)

No, its about the misrepresentation of data.

And, on that note, when thinking of misrepresentation, the phrase "Slasdhot editor" comes to mind.

Re:Misrepresentation of Date? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246200)

Thanks! I actually couldn't comprehend that sentence. I'm not a native speaker, so I kept thinking that "date" must've had some peculiar other meaning that I wasn't aware of.

Re:Misrepresentation of Date? (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246394)

Lucky for me I don't have mod points. Otherwise I'd be torn between Funny, Insightful, and Just Plain Sad.

bad data??? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245616)

yeah cause we all know how good the data ragaurding marijuana is www.norml.com

Re:bad data??? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245948)

Holy shit dude...please step away from the bong. It isn't helping you...not even a little.

politics and science have always been intertwined. (3, Insightful)

moerty (1030150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245618)

science goes wherever the government sees a critical priority, unfortunately nowadays many governments are controlled by money interests, this is what's really interfering in the relationship between science/politics.

Re:politics and science have always been intertwin (5, Insightful)

syphax (189065) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245742)


Funding certain areas of scientific research instead of others is one thing; actively suppressing or ignoring the results of said research is entirely another. The executive branch has some control over what gets researched, and I'm basically OK with that; what I'm not OK with is the government's control of the results.

Re:politics and science have always been intertwin (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246390)

The executive branch has some control over what gets researched, and I'm basically OK with that; what I'm not OK with is the government's control of the results.


Exactly. With every other country, this topic would have spawned numerous "OMG fascists!!one" replies. MPU!

Re:politics and science have always been intertwin (4, Insightful)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246540)

The executive branch has some control over what gets researched, and I'm basically OK with that;
I would be if it was done fairly, or at least rationally. Refusing to fund a US$30B fusion reactor because the money isn't available is understandable, refusing to permit a prominent US engineer to participate on an international standards committee because he made a donation to a political party other than the one currently occupying the White House is not. Yet this is just what the current administration is doing [ppionline.org].

Science is just today's religion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246422)

science goes wherever the government sees a critical priority, unfortunately nowadays many governments are controlled by money interests, this is what's really interfering in the relationship between science/politics.

Governments have always been controlled by financial interests, going back to the Romans, the Greeks, the Babylonians and earlier. Up until 400 years ago, many rulers relied on a variety of religions to get their way. Between threats of eternal damnation and disapproval by one's peers, most people were forced into performing the ruler's bidding.

For most people, science is quite similar to a religion. Even in a place like the United States, the average person often struggles with basic arithmetic and literacy. Basic scientific knowledge is beyond their grasp. Yet they're lead to believe that if a scientists says something, and presents some data to back it up, that scientist is correct. Of course, that isn't the case. But your average Joe and Jill don't realize that. So politicians have no doubt seen this phenomenon and exploit it, even those politicians who cater mainly to religious fundamentalists. They tell Joe and Jill that some "scientific study" somewhere performed by "reputable scientists" has found a conclusion that supports that politicians ambitions or causes, and Joe and Jill are convinced. And if anyone, such as people with a science background, point out flaws with the politician's studies, all the politician has to do is label them as "unqualified" or "biased", and Joe and Jill are back to being mislead.

It's a formula that has worked for thousands of years, and will likely work for many centuries to come.

Re:politics and science have always been intertwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246452)

nowadays many governments are controlled by money interests,

  Nowadays? NOWADAYS many governments are controlled by money interests? Do you honestly think it was ever any different? Governments only ever pretend to have the interests of "the people" at heart, unless you only count the rich and powerful among "the people."

misrepresentation of date? (1)

tradeoph (691427) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245644)

As in 12.14.2006 instead of 14.12.2006 ? I thing the americans always misrepresent dates. Must be a sign of their crooked politics...

Re:misrepresentation of date? (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245788)

If you are going to go with a barely used date standard, you could at least go with one that makes sense, such as ISO 8601.

Re:misrepresentation of date? (1)

cswiger2005 (905744) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246432)

Agreed. To respond to the GP post: I qualify as "American", and I would write today's date as "2006-12-14" or "20061214" or maybe "2006/12/14", depending on whether I was just writing it out on paper, using the date stamp in a DNS zone file or some other computer representation, or setting up a directory hierarchy for something like daily webserver logfiles.

Most US-based computer companies commonly use the YYYY-MM-DD format now, but YMMV.
(That's "Your Mileage May Vary", not "YEAR+MONTH+overflow bit"....:-)

Re:misrepresentation of date? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245800)

So, the text representations of a set of dates in a certain year sort lexicographically?
That was an engineering choice made in the days of hardware constraints.
Teach the British to drive on the correct side of the road, and we'll talk. ;)
As in the case of these scientists, people reject that which they don't take time to put into context.

Re:misrepresentation of date? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246704)

British and Irish and Australian and South African (?) and New Zealand and Japanese and Fijian and Mayalsian and ...
...everyone else who sticks with the original, pre-Bonaparte tradition. Nice to see America supporting the French, though.

Re:misrepresentation of date? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246962)

"Correct" lol - like every other American "standard" (language, dates, units of measurement...) right-side driving smacks of being different for the sake of not doing what the British do - in this case choosing the French way ("Freedom"-side driving?)

It amazes me... (2, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245670)

"According to the BBC, the American Union of Concerned Scientists has put out a statement about the misrepresentation of date and a list of such interference by the U.S. government in scientific research.

Even when the press puts such statements up for rebuttal to our president, he goes around the question, dodging it and then says "...we have a lot of work to do for the American people..."

Re:It amazes me... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246774)

Yeah, because the press is such an objective critic of Bush. Given that UCLA/Stanford study proved that they are overwhelmingly liberal, and an industry poll found that most of them consider themselves Democrats, there's no way Bush will ever get a fair shake from the CBS's and CNN's of the world.

As for this scientist claiming findings to be misrepresented, the people on the other side say the exact same thing. This is just more bullshit from global warming alarmists seeking funding for their "research." Everything goes back to money (it's the reason there's an embryonic stem cell research controversy...adult and cord stem cells have yielded results and therefore private funding, while embryonic cells haven't yielded squat, so the scientists involved have turned to the government looking for handouts because no investers are interested).

For crying out loud, these are the same morons who said we were hitting a second Ice Age in the 1970s and actually suggested melting the polar ice caps to stave off the effects.

Science VS. CIA (2, Interesting)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245674)

I've often wondered if Al Gore tweaks the data in his global warming material as much as George "duhbua" Bush tweaked the intelegence reports that said there were WMD in Iraq.

Re:Science VS. CIA (3, Funny)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245930)

It's too bad the data isn't out there so you could go and look at it yourself or anything.

Scientific from religion to politics (4, Insightful)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245728)

Science has been a contentious subject throughout history. Whereas in the past science was misused and constrained by the church, today it has been co-opted by politics. Scientific progress has continued nevertheless. I believe that scientists will continue to discover new and exciting things about the physical world regardless of the representation or supression of their discoveries. This is especially true when viewed from a global perspective.

Re:Scientific from religion to politics (1)

gammoth (172021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246246)

What you say is true, however, I don't want the government ignoring the dangers of mercury. We're not talking about discovering planets in other solar systems.

Science keeps going... (1)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246376)

This is especially true when viewed from a global perspective.

That's an interesting point. In the second half of the last century, the US has invested passively in science, and done very well from it. A lot of scientist have moved to the US, attracted by a big research budget. I've thought about it. But as political interference increases, we'll start moving somewhere else instead - the science goes on. But what will be the effect for the United States?

Misconception (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246412)

Please don't confuse the practice of science with the use of scientists' results. Science itself isn't contentious--it's pretty straightforward from the layman's standpoint at least (money and dorky-looking people go in; data eventually comes out). How people INTERPRET and USE the science that we do is what's contentious.

Re:Misconception (1)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246836)

Please don't confuse the practice of science with the use of scientists' results.
I don't think I was confusing these. By "co-opt", I meant that some scientific discoveries were and are either reinterpreted or suppressed based on those holding power.

Re:Scientific from religion to politics (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246434)

Whereas in the past science was misused and constrained by the church, today it has been co-opted by politics.

Note that when the church was constraining science was when the church was at its most powerful politically, thus making it pretty much the same as being co-opted by politics.

It is the nature of politics -- whether the political power is exercised by democratic governments or theocratic religious institutions -- to view everything as a tool through which to pursue the politician's objectives. Rarely if ever are things like science used to define the objective. The result is that if the science says something that goes against the political objective, then it is the science that must change.

While you're right to observe that science goes on regardless, and scientific progress is made, that isn't the point. The point is that today, right now, there are decisions being made that could use the information provided by science to produce a better decision. Instead, the decision is being made first, and the science is either being ignored or twisted to support that decision. The result is beneficial for the politicians, and usually detrimental to everyone else.

If you ever needed a practical example of how facts should aid the definition of policy, rather than policy causing the redefinition of facts, simply look at Iraq. Is it yet obvious the difference between somebody's belief as to what the answer should be irrespective of facts vs the answer suggested by the real facts has profound consequences? It was the policy of the administration that the Iraqis would welcome us with roses, Democracy would flourish, and Iraq would become a shining example of hope in the Middle East. It was strongly suggested by the facts that nobody welcomes invaders, chaos would flourish particularly if there was no plan to prevent it, and Iraq would become a disaster. Today, as we struggle to come up with a plausible way of preventing the worst-case scenarios that the policy said were impossible, I think the dangers of ignoring the politicization of science are apparent.

Re:Scientific from religion to politics (2, Insightful)

Slur (61510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246558)

It was the policy of the administration that the Iraqis would welcome us with roses, Democracy would flourish, and Iraq would become a shining example of hope in the Middle East.

Actually, for the record, that was simply the last in a long line of sales pitches that the administration put before the American People, and since it stuck they've continued to act as if it was the point all along.

It should be obvious by now (and frankly it was pretty obvious then) that they never really had any interest in this agenda. The war was about control of resources. And as a bonus the war was a clever way to funnel taxpayer money - "It's your money!" - into the pockets of defense contractors, and thence right back into the Republican party.

Clever, but not admirably so.

Re:Scientific from religion to politics (1)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246934)

I think a significant turning point in politics can be identified when the focus of power turns from achieving a vision for the future and becomes a focus on retaining power. At this point, directing principles tranform from true goals and become convenient power-words. This is true of all politicized environments, not merely the government. Intellectual dishonesty, word games, twisting of the facts, and similar sophistry are all symptoms of this unwillingness to adapt to new information and circumstances.

Capitalists decry political interference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245810)

"According to the BBC, the American Union of Concerned Capitalists has put out a statement about the misrepresentation of date and a list of such interference by the U.S. government in capitalist activity. Besides the usual slew of job creating investors, they provide a number of examples besides the well-known example of the EPA's Global Warming Report."

From the BBC article:

"'It's very difficult to make good public policy without good capitalism, and it's even harder to make good public policy with bad capitalism,' said Dr Warren Buffet, president of Berkshire Hathaway. 'In the last several years, we've seen an increase in both the misuse of capital and I would say an increase of bad capital in a number of very important issues; for example, in global climate change, international peace and security, and water resources.'"

now is the time to set up the Foundation! (0, Redundant)

blurker (1007141) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245870)

First, we put all the scientists on one planet, except the "political scientists" (read Historiographers), who we put on another planet. Then, we let the terrorists blow up the known galaxy in a civil war, and send our boys back in to create an enduring civilization! Science wins! ;-)

now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245888)

Don't pull over
this time won't you please
drive faster

Re:now (1, Insightful)

ReTay (164994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246384)

They should have named this on define hypocrisy

I always love it when someone is down they complain about the very thing they were doing when they were on top.

Global Warming is a perfect example
Several studies that I have seen quoted (on both sides) have faked their numbers when their models did not show what they wanted. Some have later been busted on it.
Yet people that are not climatologists keep quoting the worthless studies as if they meant something. Now I don't care what side you come down on unless you are six years old you know both side have faked their studies.

Another perfect example is when one side starts complaining about non-partisan work by congress. You know they think they are going to loose whatever the issue is.

And as several people have pointed out they take the money fast enough.

Re:now (2, Insightful)

Slur (61510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246764)

I'm just curious which "sides" you're talking about. It sounds like you're saying there's some clear line where scientists disagree. My understanding is that disagreement exists on subtler points, but not on whether human activity contributes to global warming. (Unless there's some disagreement about the principle of cause-and-effect I'm unaware of...?)

In any case, I don't think any research has itself stated that humanity must or mustn't curtail their emissions of hydrocarbons, only that there are predictable consequences of action versus inaction.

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. If you know all about which studies are worthless, and who's quoting them, it would help if you provided some examples.

And not to be too much of a grammar nazi, but the word is lose not loose. And I think you meant to say partisan and not non-partisan. No one complains about "non-partisan work by Congress."

All Scientists (2, Insightful)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245922)

While I certainly don't approve of the way the current administration treats scientific research, the article seems to imply that it is bad for all science. No doubt the administration has hindered progress in areas that clash with its politics, such as climate change. However, there are plenty of areas not so politically turbulent that operate without interference. There are probably even some areas of scientific research that have benefited from the Bush administration, petroleum geology for instance. The Bush administration isn't necessarily bad for science, it's just bad for certain, politically sensitive, areas of science. I'm not taking issue with the report (like I said before, I don't approve of the way the administration has handled this), just the way that it has been presented.

Re:All Scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246584)

You say this as if areas of science are isolated from each other. They're not, that's why we have fields such as Physical Chemistry, Biophysics, Biochemistry, etc. Suppress even a little science and it will have a ripple effect to all sciences. gods help us if the waves start resonating.

Absolute Codswallop (1, Interesting)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245924)

It's very difficult to make good public policy without good science


It's very much possible, and used to be the norm. You don't need a recent scientific study from a top-tier university for knowing a _lot_ of things. Some things you just know; some things your parents taught you; and some things humans have learned over centuries. It's called "received wisdom."

Re:Absolute Codswallop (5, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246116)

It's very much possible, and used to be the norm.


No, good public policy was never the norm, though lack of scientific knowledge hasn't been the only major reason (indeed, isn't even #1, which is "lack of interest in the public good among the governing elite".) But its certainly a limiting factor, nonetheless.

You don't need a recent scientific study from a top-tier university for knowing a _lot_ of things.


That's true. Unfortunately, almost any area of public policy requires knowing lots of things, some of which, for almost any policy question imaginable, are of the type that are non-obvious and for which systematic study is necessary to get right other than by chance.

some things your parents taught you; and some things humans have learned over centuries.


And much of that received, traditional knowledge may be generally correct, but have rather severe limitations that don't become obvious until you try to apply it outside of the context in which that knowledge was generated. You can do that either by systematic study before you implement policy, or by implementing disastrous policy.

Of course, much of that received, traditional "knowledge" is just plain factually incorrect, too.

Re:Absolute Codswallop (2, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246400)

haha, you're not suggesting feed a cold, starve a fever is inaccurate are you?

It is funny how the parent assumes that everyone came from a sane upbringing where reason was taught rather than irrational hatred or any of the myriad of other attributes that make up this diverse world we live in.

Much of what we know as common sense now wasn't so common 200 years ago though and everything does need to get examined as you said, either through disastrous policy where thousands are injured or dead like Katrina or through scientific study before hand saving lives at the cost of money. Sounds like a no-brainer to me but I'm crazy like that.

I think you're right all around there, nice post.

Re:Absolute Codswallop (1)

mbius (890083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246190)

You don't need a recent scientific study from a top-tier university for knowing a _lot_ of things. Some things you just know; some things your parents taught you; and some things humans have learned over centuries. It's called "received wisdom."

Six million points for use of the word "codswallop," but I'm left wondering which category 'global climate change, international peace and security, and water resources' fall under.

Declining to omit context and argue at cross purposes seems wise to me.

Re:Absolute Codswallop (4, Insightful)

TheViewFromTheGround (607422) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246192)

You don't need a recent scientific study from a top-tier university for knowing a _lot_ of things.

Perhaps you do not, but you almost certainly need a methodology that includes empirical tests and peer review at some point. Received wisdom -- about race, about god/godess/the gods, about how to cure ailments -- must be subjected to the same tests and the best tools we have for achieving some modicum of "truth" about the world. You don't have to argue for an absolute-truth epistemology or for modern science as the end of human progress to conclude that some ways of knowing are better than others, and that all attempts at knowing must be verified and critiqued as best we can.

More importantly, we live in a world where policy directly interacts with issues intimately connected with the sciences -- if you were making policy in 18th century Boston, you're not (except in the most remote senses) making policies that deal with the Internet, or nuclear weapons, or global warming. The spectre of these things makes science far more crucial in public policy than at any other point in human history.

Re:Exactly (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246420)

The average slashdot Trog doesn't know anything about operating from principle, such as "human life is sacred", or at least, they don't like the principle, so they try to find some way to wiggle around it.

Science is nice to have, but you absolutely don't need it to be an enormous success in life or of great value to society. Look at Martin Luther King Jr or Sam Walton. Neither men had scientists advising them, yet I would be very comfortable with them at the helm of the Nation, telling our scientists when they have crossed the line.

I'm sure that the troggs are going nuts right about now....

Re:Absolute Codswallop (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246680)

Some things you just know; some things your parents taught you; and some things humans have learned over centuries. It's called "received wisdom."

"Recieved wisdom" is not necessarily truth. Think about the amount of old wives tales and other amounts of advice that we have recieved that turned out to be determental. Some recieved wisdom is good, but question everything.

Re:Absolute Codswallop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246858)

You're damn right. In fact, science often gets in the way of the best form of knowledge. The kind I'm talking about - well it comes from the gut. You know, _truthiness_.

"American Union of Concerned Scientists" (1, Informative)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245940)

More like "anti-American Comrades and Concerned Marxists".

http://www.ucsusa.org/ [ucsusa.org]

This is nothing more than an environmentalist wacko political action group. Take everything they say with a Costco-sized bag of salt.

Re:"American Union of Concerned Scientists" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246916)

Hmmm, -1 Flamebait for pointing out the source's bias. How ironic, given the context of the article.

International peace? (2, Insightful)

Zygote-IC- (512412) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245986)

Ok, climate change, acid rain, extinction of species, water resources, peak oil, blah blah blah -- I'll grant that's the domain of science.

But international peace?

The Israelis and Palestinians hate one another -- what role does science play in that?

"Well, after looking under the microscope, we now see that they don't hate one another."

Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for science!

Let me know when science can solve the problem of people hating one another for generations upon generations -- oh, and when they can go MMORPG cheater and dupe Taiwan so that China finally will shut up -- then I'll be impressed.

Re:International peace? (4, Funny)

Slur (61510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246244)

The Israelis and Palestinians hate one another -- what role does science play in that?

Science must do its part in designing efficient LSD / Psilocybin aerosol distribution drones for weekly fly-overs of the entire Middle East until everyone chills the fuck out. That's the role I envision.

Re:International peace? (2, Interesting)

abb3w (696381) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246334)

The Israelis and Palestinians hate one another -- what role does science play in that?

Psychological experiments, including measurements of brain activity using NMRI gear, indicate that humans are more rationalizing than rational. I believe there's also been research which indicates deep-seated beliefs seldom undergo significant change after the age of thirty. This would suggest that any policy based on the assumption that local stability (without genocide) is likely in a scale less than decades is completely dumbass.

I'd suggest some applied research on whether the "generation gap" is an international phenomenon. If you can make the gap between those who want a war of extinction and those who favor living together in peace a demographic one, it might allow the time scale to achieve peace there to be measured in decades, not centuries.

Re:International peace? (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246506)

Very nice reply, I personally wouldn't have been thinking in that direction but crop production and water management are two key issues in the middle east as well and science has a huge role to play there. It is interesting how many people think science is around to solve technical issues alone and ignore the impact it has had on our lives personally, emotionally, and geographically. Traveling from one end of the U.S. to the other and back again for Christmas has done a lot to keep my close with my family who is on the east coast. I guess most people just don't take the time to think about how knowledge and research has directly effected their lives along with everyone they know.

Re:International peace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246778)

But international peace

The actual quote was:

we've seen an increase in both the misuse of science and I would say an increase of bad science in ... for example ... international peace and security

The US government made numerous scientifically questionable claims about Iraq's WMD capabilities. At one time, these claims were the US government's primary justification for its invasion of Iraq.

When it comes to security, the justifications for many of the new terrorism laws are also extremely questionable scientifically.

The Israelis and Palestinians hate one another -- what role does science play in that?

I doubt that the quote was referring to the Israeli/Palestinian situation. Having said that, science is fundamentally about observable facts. Any successful solution to the Israeli/ Palestinian situation will take observable facts into account.

Speaking of observable facts, your statement that "Israelis and Palestinians hate one another" is extraordinarily vague. It is obviously untrue in an absolute sense: it is obviously untrue that the dominant emotion that all Israelis and Palestinians feel toward each other is hate. A small step toward peace would be for you to develop a more accurate understanding of what Israelis and Palestinians are feeling toward each other (and in general).

A larger step toward peace would be to look at patterns in factual observations of what happens when segregation and discrimination are used to "preserve" cultures at the expense of individual civil rights.

Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246016)

"Give us more taxpayer-funded research grants and we'll shut up."

Pot and kettle (1, Insightful)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246092)

The Union of Concerned Scientists certainly has no room to talk about "politicized science." They were the ones who invented politicized science.

Re:Pot and kettle (1)

flushingmemos (1022877) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246326)

Not. Racialism back around and before WWII, or Lysenkoism in the USSR. Moreover, there's a difference between data having political implications, and data that's manipulated for political ends. It's the difference between being a citizen-scientist and being a partisan hack.

Re:Pot and kettle (3, Insightful)

Slur (61510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246350)

Unless you can prove they ignore the suppression and misrepresentation of findings only in a very selective way, I think you'd have to say rather that they're trying to de-politicize science. They're a watchdog group whose only agenda is full disclosure and absolute rigor. I don't see how that would translate into any kind of political leaning.

(Of course it's common knowledge that the truth has a strong liberal bias.)

Re:Pot and kettle (2, Insightful)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246648)

They're a watchdog group whose only agenda is full disclosure and absolute rigor.

I see that you don't know much about the UCS. They're a Left-wing advocacy group whose original goal was to shut down nuclear power. Having largely succeeded at that, they then went on to other left-wing causes.

Unless you can prove they ignore the suppression and misrepresentation of findings only in a very selective way

There's plenty of proof of that out there already. Just Google it.

Their donor's list reads like a Who's Who of the Far Left. And THAT, my friend, is their only agenda. They're not the least bit interested in "full disclosure and absolute rigor", whatever the heck that may mean. They're certainly not interested in "full disclosure" of their agenda!

Re:Pot and kettle (1)

jnaujok (804613) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246732)

Are you mad? The UCS is an environmentalist group, founded in 1969. It's current president, Kevin Knobloch is a Washington insider Democrat, who served on the staff of two Democrat Congressmen. He's a "No Nukes" activist and pushes the hybrid car/hug a tree agenda. He's got a degree in Journalism for crying out loud, not science. This institute has nothing to do with science and more to do with making sure the giant cash cow of government funding never dries up. Read their own web-site and look up where their funding comes from.

Sheesh, on every scientific study that casts the slightest doubt on Global Warming, every other post is how the study must have been funded by the semi-mythical "Big Evil Oil". How come no one ever questions where this group/study gets its funding from. It took me under two minutes to find out about their President's background.

Re:Pot and kettle (2, Insightful)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246990)

OK!

So they publish a statement saying that the earth is becoming overpopulated. They say it is therefore imperative that abortion be universally available. (Coded, "reproductive decision.")

Saying that populations are exceeding expected future ability of the planet to sustain a minimal lifestyle...that is a relatively politically neutral statement. Just saying "overpopulation" is a bit more political, but only because you aren't stating your assumptions. Saying then that abortion is the solution is overtly political, and everyone should acknowledge this. There's probably a million potential solutions to overpopulation. Why do you suppose that abortion was chosen instead of generic population culling; or enacting a global one-child policy; launching a campaign to change cultural values; MANDATORY abortion; etc.

Union of Concerned Scientists in a statement made in 1992 regarding overpopulation: "We must ensure sexual equality, and guarantee women control over their own reproductive decisions. "

Regardless if one agrees or not with their statement, it is OVERTLY POLITICAL and has NO connection to scientific method or rigor!

http://www.actionbioscience.org/environment/worlds cientists.html [actionbioscience.org]

The fact of the matter is, they are and have been for many years taking political positions on scientific findings. So the Bush administration says they disagree with some scientific finding or another. That's less destructive to science (maybe not the planet, however) than SCIENTISTS deriving concrete moral imperatives from cold scientific statement of fact.

Invented? Hardly... (2, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246942)

Leaving aside whether the UCS practices “politicized science”, or instead merely reacts to others’ politicization of science, they certainly didn't invent politicized science, having been founded in 1969, which certainly is later than birth of the scientific pretense of Marxism-Leninism as practiced by the Soviet state, which itself was hardly, itself, the birth of the politicization of science.

Heck, the cloak of modern empirical science was probably grabbed by political factions for their own ends without regard to scientific merits about a day after the first politician noticed that the whole idea of empiricism had started to catch on and have some influence. Politics are like that: any thing, religion, science, etc., that has utility for selling ideas it is associated with will be used to sell them.

Updated website (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246184)

Clicking on the Hydrogen entry of the periodic table linked in the original post and reading the fine print at the bottom led me to two websites.

52. A. Clymer, "U.S. Revises Sex Information, and a Fight Goes On," New York Times, December 27, 2002. A comparison of the two versions of the CDC website about condoms can be seen online. The original website, CDC, Condoms and Their Use in Preventing HIV Infection and Other STDS (September 1999) is available at http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov/Documents/20 040817143928-82727.pdf/ [house.gov] . the current CDC fact sheet, CDC; Male Latex Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (October 2003) is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/od/latex.htm/ [cdc.gov].

Those two sites now house the same information. Either someone updated it in response to this report or the UCS was misled. I find the former more likely than the latter.

Weekly Bush prayer group (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246206)

Bush: Dear God, please give us wisdom to fight against those liberals who wish to hinder your plan to let use control all the oil. Let us fight their lies about global warming, lest we loose our right and duty to drive H2's to church.

tell your statistics to shut up (-1, Troll)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246264)

I can't help but remember that line from Charlie Brown when I read this sort of thing. In general, scientist have a pretty poor record of making accurate predictions about things, in the long run. How many thousands of "scientists" for untold centuries were more than happy to tell their rulers that, yes of course the earth is the center of the universe and everything revolves around it? And more recently, what happened to all those hurricanes that were supposed to hit? Lorenz [wikipedia.org] back in 50's proved that the non-linearity of weather patterns made it mathematically impossible to make any realistic predictions of future event, yet new trends in atmospheric science seem to have no problem predicting weather 50 to 100 years from now.

It seems a relatively new phenomenon these days, where scientist think they have some sort of carte blanche to purpose something, and expect the world to spin around on a dime and provide huge federal grants to modify everyone's behavior. If you ask me it is more than a little disingenious.

Sometimes a think that *some* scientist are trying to replace the priesthood of yesteryear as our all-knowing overlords. They use many of the same techniques, based on fear, to convince the happily ignorant populace that REPENT AND CHANGE YOUR WAYS OR CERTAIN DOOM IS AT HAND!

The Church for 1500 years used the fear of an everlasting tortuous afterlife to keep people under control, and I personally see many similarities with the current wave of supposed "scares" that science churns out these days.

Re:tell your statistics to shut up (1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246378)

"How many thousands of "scientists" for untold centuries were more than happy to tell their rulers that, yes of course the earth is the center of the universe and everything revolves around it?"

I don't think any scientist ever actually said that, I believe it was church dogma.
Something science found to be incorrect, BTW.

All lorenze proved was that there were to many variables to predict weather.

You want to know what happened to the hurricanes? an increase in wind sheer caused by global climate change.

Thats the great thing about science, any one can look at the data.
Sadly, people who set up science review board will pick fringe scientists to push there agenda.

Scientists vs Politicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246284)

Someday soon scientists world-wide will rise up and use science to take our world back from these political idiots. Maybe they'll invent a virus or other biological agent that targets no-one but greedy, ignorant, and just plain evil politicians. I'd spend my yearly income on as much of the stuff as I could and release it into the air, water, and hors d'oeuvres at those $1000 a plate get-togethers.

Science vs Study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246530)

A lot of the problem with the public and political perception of science today are fields like biology, neuroscience/psychology, medicine, engineering and ecology posing as science.

If it is not physics, chemistry or mathematics, then it is not science.

Take a good close look at biology, engineering or medicine and it is quite clear that these fields are not science. Unfortunately politicians and the general public seem unable to discern the difference.

Science has unjustly earned a bad name due to studies posing as science. It is sad but I doublt the situation will ever be rectified. More and more the public accepts pseudoscience as science.

No big deal (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246542)

This is just the next natural refinement of the scientific method:

Science + Truthiness = Scienciness

Scienciness gives us more consistent and reassuring results than that old-fashioned science. The old stuff is for pessimists and gloom-and-doomers. The optimists in this country will not let such negative attitudes hold back progress and growth.

If you want to be perfectly honest (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246596)

The problem is very deep. We have politicians that are playing experts when formulating policy. Since the politicians do not really know or understand they often pass legislation detrimental to science. Politicians have only two things in mind: constituents and re-election. Even the scientists claim expertise when they do not really know. What we need are people to be honest and say that they really do not know what is causing global warming or disease, etc. We need open research minds that are objective. The global warming campaign is not very objective. The fact is, no one understands earth's climate completely. We may have some understanding of small aspects of the climate but we have yet to see how these aspects affect the larger picture. This is not limited to the climate. Let's look at the pharmaceutical industry. We have seen a huge rise in medicinal advertising and it looks like the pharmaceutical companies (thought to be safe because of science) are creating drugs to counteract harmful side effects of others. There has been definitive evidence that homeopathic and herbal treatments can be effective without the side effects. However, there is no profit or exclusivity in selling homeopathic medicines. It is a shame when the pharmaceutical industry's answer to erectile dysfunction when taking blood pressure medicines is to introduce a medicine to counteract this. We are becoming increasingly dependent upon this. What if there were another way . . . . Lobbyists are paid big bucks to discredit homeopathy. However, homeopathic research is 100 plus years old. Thus science is not truely objective as long as people are narrow minded or profit moded.

Re:If you want to be perfectly honest (1)

cswiger2005 (905744) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246984)

Even the scientists claim expertise when they do not really know.

This is true of all sorts of people, but it is less true of genuine experts (in whatever field).

What we need are people to be honest and say that they really do not know what is causing global warming or disease, etc. We need open research minds that are objective. The global warming campaign is not very objective. The fact is, no one understands earth's climate completely. We may have some understanding of small aspects of the climate but we have yet to see how these aspects affect the larger picture.

We don't have to understand all of the details of a complex system like the world's climate to make useful and reliable predictions. Your local weatherman can predict the weather over the next week with a lot more accuracy than someone could 100 years ago. And, while we can't predict whether it will rain on one specific day a year from now, and likely never will be able to due to Lorentz and the "butterfly effect", we're getting pretty decent at predicting how much rainfall will be seen over a month a year from now

And we don't have to understand and be able to cure every single disease to demonstrate that the basics of "germs cause disease" works very well. Simple things like boiling water before using it to clean wounds or sterilize dressings makes an amazing difference; similar effects occur with the prevention of "childbed fever". You do realize that before Semmelweis & Pasteur in the 19th century, something like 15-20 % of pregnant women died after giving birth?

There has been definitive evidence that homeopathic and herbal treatments can be effective without the side effects.

True. But then, there has been definitive evidence that giving people sugar pills (as a placebo) will result in a ~30% effective treatment for pain or for things like a viral flu which has no current effective treatment.

Look at their constituents. (0, Offtopic)

copponex (13876) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246694)

(from Jesus Camp)
MOM: (reading from "Exploring Creationism with Physical Science") One popular thing to do in American Politics is to note that the summers in the United States over the past few years have been very warm. As a result, global warming must be real. What's wrong with this reasoning?

KID: It's only gone up 0.6 degrees.

MOM: Yeah, it's not really a big problem, is it?

KID: No. I don't think that... it's going to hurt us.

MOM: It's a huge political issue, global warming is, and that's why it's really important for you to understand...

KID: Is evolution too?

MOM: Um, not really. On a much...

KID: Creationism?

MOM: Um, it's becoming one now. What if you had to go to school where the teacher said, "Creationism is stupid, and you're stupid if you believe in it?"

KID: I think they should...

MOM: Well, or what if you had to go to a school where the teacher said "Evolution is stupid, and you're stupid if you believe it?"

KID: I wouldn't mind that.

MOM: You wouldn't mind it. If you look at Creationism, it's the only possible answer to all the questions. It's the only possible answer.

KID: That's exactly what dad said!

MOM: Mmm hmmm, it's the only possible answer to all the questions.

KID: Oh, yeah...

MOM: Oh, yeah.

MOM: Did you get to the part on here where it says that science doesn't prove anything? And it's really interesting when you look at it that way.

KID: It is?

MOM: It is.

KID: (reading further) I think, personally, that Galileo made the right choice by giving up science for Christ.

(later)

MOM: We know when things started changing, you know, prayer got taken out of school, and um... the schools started falling apart. And now the rest of us are going, wait a minute, where is my country? Our firm belief is, there are two types of people, those who love Jesus and those who don't.

Wow (1)

Conanymous Award (597667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246784)

A science topic, and there's only one mention of the word "evolution" in it at this point, and zero "creationism". Has /. evolved or something?

bad science (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246790)

if you want an example of bad science i could point you to any number of environmental activist websites. full of doom crying and emotive blackmail to try guilt you into taking their side.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...