Posts tagged science
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”
— Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 6
Just like Humpty Dumpty, Republicans in the House of Representatives and their Fox News enablers have started to decide what words mean. This week’s word: science.
Yesterday, DC outlined how the Republican-controlled North Carolina State Legislature has tried to define an acceptable rate of sea level rise from global warming.
I’ve written about how a Republican-led legislature in Tennessee decided that certain religious beliefs are actually science, while global warming is not.
During the Republican Presidential debates, candidate Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Stillwater, MN) just plain made up science to fit her preëxisting belief system.
And of course, the decades-long Republican War on Science is well-documented.
So it should come as no surprise that National Science Foundation (NSF) funding bill amendment, sponsored by Representative Jeff Flake (R-Mesa, AZ) and passed by the House last month, purports to define what is, and what is not, “science”.
Fair warning to our Loyal Readers. This article will be different from what you’ve come to expect. It’s not about politics…except that it is. It’s not about current events…except that it is. It’s not about Democrats and Republicans…except that it is. And it is intensely personal…except that it’s not.
It’s about science and speculation, and whether we as a nation should fund basic research with no expected practical benefit — except it’s really about religion and spirituality and why we should fund that.
I make my living writing software. I also write fantasy and science fiction novels. I’m also a minister. Here’s why it’s all the same thing. (more…)
Jon Huntsman formally kicked off his campaign today in New Jersey, in sight of the Statue of Liberty — which according to some is a reminder from the French not to embrace socialism — evoking the spirit of President Ronald Reagan as he announced his candidacy for the 2012 Republican Party nomination for President of the United States.
He invoked Reagan directly, saying that Reagan was a candidate in a similarly difficult time in the nation’s history.
Politico’s Alexander Burns reports that he plans travel to New Hampshire later today, South Carolina on Wednesday, Orlando, Miami and Naples, Florida on Thursday, and Utah plus Nevada on Friday. He will set up his national campaign office in Orlando, home of his wife, Mary Kaye.
I don’t think you need to run down anyone’s reputation to run for president. I respect my fellow Republican candidates. And I respect the president. He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love. But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better president, not who’s the better American. — Jon Huntsman, in prepared remarks reported at Politico
The article below is an updated and reprinted version of one that appeared February 2, 2011. (more…)
Florida State Rep. Scott Randolph (D-Orlando) is frustrated with the 18 bills regulating abortion being considered by the Florida State Legislature. He feels that the legislative priorities are misplaced when Florida’s economy, like much of the nation’s, is in disarray. During a debate on a bill that would prohibit union dues being deducted from workers’ paychecks, Randolph (quoting his wife) suggested that she should “incorporate her uterus” so that Republicans would leave it alone.
That raised the ire of the Republican House Speaker, Dean Cannon. According to his spokeswoman, Kate Betta, the word “uterus” is no longer to be uttered (utered?) in the Florida Legislature:
Jordan Ellenberg has a great article up on Slate on “The Mathematics of Narcissism.” There are two related themes running through it.
One theme surrounds the overhaul of the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition Revised (DSM IV-R), the “Bible” for psychiatric professionals. The DSM is the way in which psychiatrists and psychologists classify mental disorders into clumps so that we can use a common language in talking about patients and diseases. The other is about the ranking of graduate programs. Finding the commonality between these two themes is a great reason to read the article, which I highly recommend.
The overhaul of the DSM is an infrequent and important event in psychology and psychiatry. In the immortal words of Vice President Joe Biden, “It’s a big fucking deal!” Basically, the revisions in the DSM codify and standardize the current models of how the mind works. In order to standardize the classification and treatment of psychiatric disorders, we need a book that describes to the best of our current ability what is wrong and what is right.
On Friday, December 17, the Obama Administration issued a formal memorandum saying that government officials should not interfere with science.
So, why is this an issue at all?
I know my fellow liberals are sometimes accused of blaming the Bush Admininstration for everything. In this case, however, the shoe fits.
The Bush Administration had a strong and unequivocal record of denying the existence of scientific data that conflicted with their political and social views. The trend became so bad that thousands of scientists felt compelled to start an organization called “Defend Science” and issue a manifesto outlining the various sorts of manipulation, fabrication, and outright naked deceit that became the modus operandi of the previous administration. (more…)