Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? NO SCANDAL!

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? NO SCANDAL!
NO COVER-UP!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ELEVATING SCIENCE, ELEVATING DEMOCRACY


Dennis Overbye, writing in the New York Times on Tuesday, January 27, rejoiced over the dark cloud that was lifted from the shoulders of the scientific community in this country.


After eight years of the Bush administration's policy of allowing ideology and theology to determine what scientific research will go forward and what will not, we have a president who understands that America has the brain power, the technology, and the determination to be a leader once again in scientific endeavor.


On issues like stem cells, climate change, sex education and contraceptives, the Bush administration sought to tame and, in some cases, suppress the findings of many of the government’s scientific agencies. Besides discouraging scientific pronouncements that contradicted administration policies, officials insisted on tight control over even routine functions of key agencies.

In early 2004, more than 60 influential scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, issued a statement claiming that the Bush administration had systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weaponry.


The administration, it said, had “misrepresented scientific knowledge and misled the public about the implications of its policies.”


Just last month, the inspector general of the Interior Department determined that agency officials often interfered with scientific work in order to limit protections for species in danger of extinction.

We no longer have President George W. Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Senator John McCain announcing in August 2006 their support for teaching Intelligent Design in pubic schools. That was a mobilizing moment for the champions of rational thinking such as Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and P.Z. Myers to mount an unrelenting campaign against superstition, supernaturalism, and ignorance. The dilemma as Coyne notes is that against the backdrop of scientific knowledge available to us today, these three words are applicable not only to the texts that inform literal fundamentalists but also to the rarefied theological mumbo-jumbo of the most refined, liberal theologians.

On inauguration day, President Obama announced the goal of "restoring science to its rightful place" while, in the same speech, acknowledging that nonbelievers are citizens of this nation in the same way as followers of religion.
Source




19 comments:

TAO said...

Ah...Shaw?

If you haven't noticed there is kind of an 'anti-intellectualism' bent in regards to how most of Americans view the world.

We can go all day venting about government but write a post proposing a position to solve some of our economic problems and no one cares.

Write about Rush Limbaugh or Religion and get hit from all sides.

I have found in Kentucky that the strongest Bush supporters in 2004 and actually saying that Obama may be on to something...and we are talking middle aged white folks.

I just fear that Obama may prove to be too intelligent for us...he knows that the world is waiting to see us do something in regards to the economy and thus we have to do a bailout otherwise everyone will languish. I just wish he would benefit smaller business and people more rather than the typical beneficiaries.

Our support of science has always been the reason we have enjoyed the economic success that we have enjoyed because once the government funds a successful program it turns over the rights to manufacture to a company. I have always believed that alot of the economic problems we have had the last few years is due to our inabililty to do research, and to look and understand things differently.

dmarks said...

Tao said: "I just wish he would benefit smaller business and people more rather than the typical beneficiaries."

You are really onto something there. Small businesses are the the engine of economic growth, and the way out of the unemployment mess. The stimulus would be a lot better if it didn't waste money on pay raises for well-off government employees and free health care for rich people and instead provided real relief for small businesses.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Tao,

You from Kentucky? I've been privileged to visit that beautiful state more than once. I have friends who live in LOO-a-VUL.

Cherokee Park area.

Even named a stray cat we adoped Waddy-Paducah!

My friends were: wife, liberal Democrat, husband, conservative Republican--who disliked Bush with a heat of a thousand suns!

Both of them life-long Looo-A-VUL-yans.

Re: anti-intellectualism? I hope those dark, dark Middle Ages days are over.

Imagine having to type these words:

"...Obama may prove to be too intelligent for us..."

The United States of America is supposed to be the Shining City on the Hill.

Why shouldn't we embrace intelligence????

dmarks said...
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Arthurstone said...

I've been a small business owner ( engine of the economy) for twenty years and I've yet to see a like enterprise fail because of the federal tax burden. Or, as I like tonthink of taxes, the covercharge for visiting the best club on the planet. I have seen plenty of businesses fail because of undercapitalization and incompetence.

Arthurstone said...

I've been a small business owner ( engine of the economy) for twenty years and I've yet to see a like enterprise fail because of the federal tax burden. Or, as I like tonthink of taxes, the covercharge for visiting the best club on the planet. I have seen plenty of businesses fail because of undercapitalization and incompetence.

TAO said...

Arthur....

I have been doing for over 20 years and I have yet to complain about my taxes.

NOT ONCE.

Incomptence seems to kill a small business real quick out of the blocks but right now undercapitalization seems to be the biggest impediment for small businesses and this is where I would like to see government kick in.

Right now it is next to impossible for small business owners to get lines of credit and or business loans....and most of the ones I know want such credit to expand their businesses now because of opportunities that have opened up...

People get mad at me when I say that the government can raise my taxes if they can keep consumers shopping!

TAO said...

Shaw,

Liberal Democrats are a rare breed here in the Bluegrass State, I know three in Bowling Green which is where I live.

There is a tremendous amount of pride in Bowling Green for the growth that we have achieved in the last 20 years and I love to tweak the folks by adding that it was due to the effect of the liberalism of the local univeristy that has made this once small town so appealing to so many people.

Actually, I should really be living in Louisville I just do not want to pack up and move! Louisville is a great city!

I travel to Paduch about once a month and would be there now if it wasn't for the ice and snow...a little over one inch of snow and that pretty much shuts everything down in southern and western Kentucky.

Which being that I am originally from Wisconsin I have never understood.

Yes, this country has been in the holds of a Middle Ages mentality for over 20 years; whether we want to admit it is another story.

It is one thing to seek a future that incorporates the values that I believe in and then it is another to seek a return to the past when one believes their values flourished....we have been seeking a return to the past for over the last 20 years.

I might be a conservative but I have no fear of the future and no desire to return to some sort of utopian state of nature.

I realize that there is nothing utopian about a state of nature and I realize that if big government is evil so is big business and big religion....

Shaw Kenawe said...

dmarks,

I do expect better from you. The picture of Obama with a cigarette hanging from his mouth only shows he had/or is trying to break a bad habit. It doesn't reflect on his intelligence.

Shall we go into other people's bad habits and make them an issue--that is, make them an indication of intelligence? Like, say, having your cleaning lady score Oxycontin for you? And taking so much Oxycontin for so long that you lose your hearing from the habit? Or steal prescription drugs from your own charity to support your habit?

I gave up smoking twice. And the second time was the winner.

Plenty of presidents have smoked. Cigarettes and cigars and pipes. Or are you against cigarettes only as a form of smoking?

Laura Bush is a smoker. Does that mean she's stupid? Or just in the throes of a bad habit?

PS. My father was a life/long smoker. Your snark is noted.

dmarks said...
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dmarks said...
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Shaw Kenawe said...

TAO,

I made a mistake. I named my cat Waddy-Peytona, not Paducah.

I got the idea off of this sign.

But poor Waddy ran off and was never seen again.

Arthurstone said...

Shaw noted:

'I do expect better from you.'


Why?

'Smokers are stupid.'

'Atheists are religious.'

'Liberals wanted GWB killed.'

The hits keep coming.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Arthur,

In the spirit of President Obama, I do hold out hope for our conservative bretheren.

It's far better we talk rather than throw chairs at each other.

Arthurstone said...

Shaw-

But of course one doesn't make it this far in life without tasting the pill of disappointment time and time again...

And that's my thought for the day 8>)

But I agree with you. And try my very, very best not to get into the whole name calling thing.

Ideas can be stupid but not people. Gulp.

There. I said it.

Cheers!

dmarks said...

@arthurstone:

"'Atheists are religious."

Only those who are making religious assertions, as some do.

"Liberals wanted GWB killed."

I never said there were more than a few. Links were provided, too. For one of them, you even admitted that the liberal being quoted was speaking in favor of assassinating Bush, but you said it was OK since it was a joke or something like that. Your summary sentence above implies that I said it was a mainstream view. If that is what you are saying, you are lying.

Arthurstone said...

dmarks replied:

'Only those who are making religious assertions, as some do.'

You completely misrepresented a man's remarks and then spent the entire thread arguing atheism is like any other religion. And you could not provide another example of your assertion beyond your own opinion. Hint: the folks who make a similar claim tend to be conservative Christians with an ideological axe to grind.

He then added in his notorious 'liberal blogs were sympathetic to the assassination of GWB'

"For one of them, you even admitted that the liberal being quoted was speaking in favor of assassinating Bush, but you said it was OK since it was a joke or something like that."

I didn't say it was okay. I said it was a joke (a poor one) for which he apologized. By the way it was an Op Ed piece on a newspaper website. Not a 'liberal blog'

You linked to a couple of other items reporting on protesters trashing GWB who may or may not have been 'liberals'. But at the end of the day you didn't link to a single 'liberal blog' which what YOU brought up in the first place.

dmarks said...

"You completely misrepresented a man's remarks and then spent the entire thread arguing atheism is like any other religion"

I represented any remarks very accurately,and completely. And "strong atheism" is a religion because it asserts a religious faith; a religious doctrine. My opinion on this and other religions does not matter. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find me expressing an opinion on these faiths.

"And you could not provide another example of your assertion beyond your own opinion"

I provided the actual definition (the facts, not opinion). You chose to ignore it.

"Hint: the folks who make a similar claim tend to be conservative Christians with an ideological axe to grind."

I will let this statement, which might imply some religious bigotry on your part, to stand on its own.

But I will add that I disagree with those "conservative Christians" who equate "not teaching creation" or "teaching evolution" with "teaching Atheism".

"He then added in his notorious 'liberal blogs were sympathetic to the assassination of GWB'"

Some were. But again you mislead to the point of lying. I said it was only a few. Your intentionally inaccurate paraphrasing (again) implies that I said it of all liberal blogs.

"But at the end of the day you didn't link to a single 'liberal blog' which what YOU brought up in the first place."

Three were provided. I did not link to them. I did not have to. I said something quite obvious that you certainly knew was true. It is like if one person says "Rush Limbaugh opposes Barack Obama" and another is lame enough to demand links. But someone else ended up providing the links, anyway.

You seem to think it is all OK that one of them was more newpaper than blog. I myself have the opinion that it is even worse when a supposed respected journalist calls for a President's assassination, as opposed to some blogger.

I've also seen some nutters on the other side say similar things about assassinating the current President. They are every bit as reprehensible. Even if it is just a "joke", and even if they "apologize" later. They should know better. And you already did admit that there were fringe nutters on both sides.

So why go into this, which is to essentially deny that there are any fringe nutters on the left? Especially when you admitted that some exist?

dmarks said...

By the way, here's another link discussing a pro-assassinate Bush blogger. These are so easy to find searching Google. It took me 10 seconds to find this. Kind of pointless and obvious: everyone knows nutters like this exist, after all.

You didn't see it when 3 links were posted, you probably won't see this one.