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Education United States Politics Science

America's Turn From Science, a Danger For Democracy 900

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Here's a good article about how playing politics with science puts our country at risk — a review of Shawn Otto's book Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America. Today's policy-makers, Otto shows, are increasingly unwilling to pursue many of the remedies science presents. They take one of two routes: deny the science, or pretend the problems don't exist."
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America's Turn From Science, a Danger For Democracy

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  • by InterestingFella ( 2537066 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @03:27PM (#38505738)
    The whole U.S. is established on the idea of God and religion. It's everywhere in the U.S. culture. That fact alone tells that U.S. has never been about, or seek to know, science. Science tends to look at the world in terms of numbers, technology and confirmed facts. Religion tends to tell the world has been made by some imaginary person in the sky, tells you to pray towards said imaginary person and completely disregards science in favor of what someone wrote on paper 1500-2000 years ago. They are not compatible.

    Now here's a crazy question to those of you believe in god. The whole world is full of lunatics, alcoholics, drug users and pathological liars, and has always been. Hell, it doesn't even have to be a "bad" thing. Many people have great amount of imagination. What makes you think those stories weren't made up by either drunk persons, someone who wanted to tell a story or someone who just wanted to play with people?

    On that matter, stories always change when they are passed from people to people. This is like 1-2th grade stuff. I still remember when my first grade teacher demonstrated this by whispering something to a student, who then whispered it to next person and so on. After all of us in the class had passed it forward, the meaning was completely different with added "fun stuff" and things that didn't even make sense.

    Why do you think the bible is a good representation of how things actually went? Why do you think it's even true at all? It could just as well be based on some old stories that have changed when going from people to people, or better yet, some drunk or drug using guy just wrote it 2000 years ago. Just think about it.
  • Re:Climate Change (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @03:40PM (#38505898) Homepage
    Both of those facts are true. Neither provide ANY evidence for your ridiculous, unfounded statement that the climate is out of our control.

    Here: Fact 1) The climate has changed and always will. Fact 2) We can't keep it in a solid sate (unchanging). Fact 3) Mankind directly affects the climate, and we KNOW this - we can see the Ozone hole above the poles. It was directly created by aerospray cans we created. Fact 4) Besides a static, unchanging thing, there is stomething called DYNAMIC STABILITY. Fact 5) Dynamic Stability can be achieved by careful monitoring and correcting of issues. Like say if we start pumping more C02 into the air, we can stop it.

    Not saying that is what we have to do. Just saying that your logic is incredibally bad - you proved absolutely nothing but your own ignorance.

  • nothing new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @03:45PM (#38505960) Homepage Journal
    In the early to mid 1900's, science and math were basically dead in America. Much of the work done on some significant inventions of that time, such as the TV, was not done in the US and was completed in the late 19th century, with only some additional work done in the US, and completed by the 1920's.

    It was sputnik that that put science and math back in vogue in the US, and even then it has been touch and go. I don't imagine that many who read this can imagine how hard it is to actually set up an advance math of physics class is school that are controlled by ex cheerleaders and english majors. They cannot understand the importance or the complexity. They think that the computers just magically appeared one day. They don't know the physics and engineering that was required.

    Some of this comes from the religious fanatics, and some of these believe that the US is a christian state. While it is somewhat true, the beliefs of our founding fathers were not necessarily the beliefs of the christian fundamentalists and terrorists that want to divert tax a money from the public good to funding their mansions and sports complexes and terrorists cells. One example of this difference is the Jefferson bible. This bible is used by many christians as it focuses on the teaching of Jesus for those who follows his ways and habits, rather than the mysticism which is often used to tell poor people that they are poor simply because they have no faith.

    Our founding fathers understood that religion was used to oppress them, which is why the fought against the aristocracy of England. It was understood that the aristocracy was no more chosen by god than a CEO is chosen by god. It was understood that the work of a person, not the lineage, should determine if a person was successful. Just because one was born into a place or a family should not determine if one was blesse by god. The blessed were the ones who would have faith and work. So the US was built on faith, but not the idea that we in the US were more blessed than other simply because we were born in the US. We had to work for the blessing.

    This then is problem with math and science. If we are simply blessed because we are born in the US, then we can simply stay on our sofas and watch TV. But if god demands that we act, that we honor the creation, the Math and physics takes on a much greater importance, and one is not blessed simply because one watches Joel Olsteen on a 42" tv in a mansion. It is then required that we take an active role in exploring and expanding the good that the creation can do, which means that we have to get our lazy asses off the sofa and produce something useful, the antithesis to what is taught in too many churches.

  • by SputnikPanic ( 927985 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @03:54PM (#38506070)

    Natural climate fluctuation is pretty much indisputable, even with human historical periods (medieval warm period, Little Ice Age, etc). Likewise, the current warming trend is also indisputable, and it's fairly certain that even if it's NOT human caused, it's probably at least human exacerbated.

    The US didn't ratify the Kyoto treaty because, if I recall correctly, China and India among others were exempt. The US would have taken an economic hit as a result of the treaty while China, which has only gotten bigger and bigger as a major industrial country in the years since Kyoto, would not have been saddled with the same regulations. This is a legitimate economic issue, but the political argument shifted away from the arena of economics, where perhaps it might have been a bit easier to arrive at an agreement or way forward. The political argument shifted instead to one about the scientific validity of the research. Skeptics deny the science as a way of trying to preempt the political conversation that necessarily follows. I think this is a disingenuous approach. If someone (or some organization) has an issue with the proposed political remedies -- as I sometimes, perhaps often, do -- then they should make THAT that their argument, not the underlying science.

  • by OFnow ( 1098151 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @03:55PM (#38506088)
    The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion. -- Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11. Signed by John Adams.
  • by cheekyjohnson ( 1873388 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @03:56PM (#38506098)

    the onus is on the religious to provide infallible proof.

    I believe the onus is on whoever states something as a fact. That, to me, implies that you somehow know something, and if you know something to be true, then you probably should have evidence to prove it. Otherwise, how could you know?

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @04:02PM (#38506156) Homepage
    You left out the heriditary tendencies for President.

    Every single elected president - INCLUDING Barack Obama, has a genealogy related to President George Washington.

    Note I did say Elected President. Gerald Ford is (as of yet), not known to be related to George Washington.

    Barck Obama is George Washington's 9th cousin, 6 times removed. Yes, this is through his white mother.

    From what I can tell, the least connected elected President was Martin Van Buren - 17th cousin thrice removed.

    Also, President William Henry Harrison was related by marraige, not by blood.

    my source [geni.com]

  • by kawabago ( 551139 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @04:02PM (#38506164)
    The Canadian conservative government pulled out of Kyoto not because they hate science but because they don't care. They see money from Alberta tar sands and that is all they can see. If the climate warms, they won't have to go as far south in winter! That is how they view it and they won't change until it's too late. New Orleans will disappear under the waves of the Gulf of Mexico this century and no conservative government, American or Canadian, will take climate change seriously until it does. Even then they will probably try to blame the victims saying New Orleans brought it on itself.
  • by Riceballsan ( 816702 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @04:19PM (#38506388)
    It is actually quite a bit fewer the higher up and more educated they get if I recall the last numbers from the national academy of science showed about 93% as atheist, and if I recall that number goes up even further in the fields of geology, paleontology and microbiology.
  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @04:26PM (#38506500)

    At the core of the religious and science differences is a very humanistic (and fallible) trait of 'we' vs. 'them'. It's what drives the whole diatribe of debate on both sides of the fence and what makes the problem irrational and unsolvable.

    Neither science nor religion are based on 100% total fact. A scientific theory, (as is much religion), is based on what appears to be known about something from a given set of data. Can you explain Dark Matter with 100% certainty? No. Can you explain Intelligent Design with 100% certainty? No. You can make a lot of guesses but in the end those guesses are subjective.

    Seems to me one set of weakly glued hypothesis and conjecture should not be insisted upon over another set of weakly glued hypothesis and conjecture. We are on one planet of zillions of galaxies. We have not seen all there is to see and cannot explain much of what we have.

  • by colinrichardday ( 768814 ) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @04:28PM (#38506518)

    Interesting digression: there never was division in the government about how to treat Native Americans.

    The Supreme Court ruled that the Cherokee could not be evicted from their land. President Jackson simply did so anyway. Sounds like a disagreement to me.

  • by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @04:31PM (#38506576) Journal
    "While you do not believe in a creator God, that also does not cause his existence to be a false premise."

    I do not believe in pink dragons that fart nerve gas, although this does not cause their existence to be a false premise. The testable evidence for both god and pink dragons that fart nerve gas is identical.

    Nice one on the rational acceptance of the difference between your religious belief and whether or not your religious belief is factually correct. If the world is going to have religious people then it needs a higher percentage who think like you.
  • by am 2k ( 217885 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @04:33PM (#38506590) Homepage

    Not quite. Almost all of the military spending goes to producing the same products over and over again, a process contributing nothing to tech knowledge (and thus, science). As George Orwell explained in 1984, totalitarian states like big military, since it grabs a large portion of the state wealth while not improving the society's wellbeing (bombs cost money to produce, but all they can do is blow up). People that struggle to stay alive are obedient people.

  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @05:18PM (#38507178) Journal

    Eventually perhaps you'll reason yourself back the other way, once you realize that religions deal with a problem domains which are important but not susceptible to the scientific method. Those religions were selected for by evolutionary pressure. That's why they're still around.

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @05:58PM (#38507714)

    I doubt it'd work. It seems that most "Christians" in America these days believe that God hates poor people, and the more money you have, the more God loves you. The last thing they want is socialized health care or really anything that helps out the disadvantaged.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @06:07PM (#38507808) Journal

    You are correct that the problem fundamentally is ignorance. However, religion promotes ignorance by encouraging people to believe without proof.

  • by Creepy ( 93888 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @06:07PM (#38507810) Journal

    Ah Catholics... I never quite understood why adulterers (a man that remarries when his first wife still lives is adultery under ancient Jewish law and biblical law, which share the same source, but the modern meaning of the word adultery has changed) are excommunicated, but thieves and murderers are not. Murderers are even blessed by a priest and have their final rites read to them before they get executed.

    I realize "classical" adultery was one of the worst sins in biblical times, punishable by stoning to death (I remember it by "marriage or stoning... it's a death sentence either way," which was a Bible school joke).

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @07:39PM (#38508952) Journal

    When a better term is provided for people who don't believe in a god or gods but feel the need to go around telling themselves of the fact is invented we will use that term.

    I propose "antitheist", or "debunker".


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