Science Is Wonderful Except…

Ars Technica has an article documenting the strange contradictions between Americans and science as shown by Pew Research Center surveys. What is strange is that while the vast majority (84%) feel that science has been a boon to society and that scientists have had a positive impact (70%) on our lives, their actual findings and theories aren’t thought of quite so highly.

Global Warming

Eighty-four percent of scientists consider the case for anthropogenic climate change to be on solid footing, and over 90 percent were either very or somewhat concerned about it (the discrepancy arises from a those scientists who consider the current warning to be driven primarily by natural events). This is especially striking given that geoscientists were the least represented scientific discipline in the survey, and acceptance of anthropogenic climate change is highest among climatologists.

In contrast, only about half of the public are convinced of the scientific community’s conclusions, and that drops to only 21 percent among those who self-identify as conservative Republicans. Even among the most liberal fraction of the public, however, the numbers are lower than within the scientific community. One reason for this is that only half of the public believes that the scientific community has itself reached agreement on these matters.

Evolution.

But it’s clear that there’s a tremendous amount of confusion on the topic. Only 60 percent of the public thinks that science has reached a consensus on its acceptance of the evidence for evolution (97 percent of scientists think so) and half of those who think that species haven’t evolved say that science doesn’t conflict with their religious beliefs.

And let’s not even get started on stem cell research…

So despite the majority of scientists having very strong science based beliefs in regards to the above examples and our expressed trust in science and scientists in general, many Americans still refuse to believe the results which brings up the $64,000 question. Why?

While the Ars Technica article throws out lots of possibilities, my money is on the dumbing down of our schools led by morons like those in the Texas state board of education who wouldn’t know science if it bit them on the rear and our contining penchant to get the “science” knowledge that we chose to believe from big business, anonomously written web sites, and Sunday sermons. Other thoughts?

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The GOP's Hitler Obsession

While our local far right-wingers concentrate on religiously driven homophobia and calling those of the left leaning persuasion every possible name ending in “-ist” (Communist, Socialist, Fascist, Marxist, etc.) in the English language the national far righties seem to have found an obsession of their own.

From the Washington Monthly

Sen. Jim DeMint says that America under Obama is like Germany before World War II. Republican women in Maryland say that Obama is like Hitler. Hitler comparisons are apparently rife at tea parties. What’s gotten into the GOP?

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) once compared those who accept the science on global warming to the Third Reich. Assorted right-wing activists have compared Al Gore to Hitler.

At times it seems as if the right has no other historical comparisons from which to draw upon. Grover Norquist has said the estate tax is the moral equivalent of the Nazi Holocaust. Bill O’Reilly has made so many comparisons between his political opponents and Nazis, it’s hard to even know where to start. Don’t even get me started on Glenn Beck and Jonah Goldberg.

No wonder the fundie wing of the GOP has been given the nickname “Reich Wing“…

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Funding The Deniers

This is just wrong on so many levels.

The House recently passed a climate change bill that includes a provision that would subsidize up to 50% of the cost for retrofitting energy systems of faith-based and other nonprofit groups.

After a spirited (pun intended) lobbying effort, a group of faith-based organizations has persuaded House movers and shakers to include benefits for religious organizations in the energy bill that passed last week.

At the last minute, at the behest of a coalition led by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, House leaders inserted a provision that would provide subsidies of up to one-half the cost of retrofitting energy systems of faith-based and other nonprofit groups. It’s a testament to the lobbying clout of faith-based groups, although how far that influence will extend into other issues looming in Congress is an open question.

Lets put aside for a second that it is just plain wrong that US taxpayers could end up funding the energy saving upgrades for churches which would seem to be a clear violation of the First Amendment. The real irony of this vote by the House is the fact that we would be forced to pay for “greening up” the buildings for a group of citizens that include probably the largest percentage of global warming deniers there is. What a crock!

Fortunately the Senate version of the bill does not as of yet include this provision but as Americans United for the Separation of Church and State opines, “What is scary about all this is the continuing influence in Washington, D.C., of pressure groups that support public funding of religion.

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Quick Hits – Surprises

Work will be taking up most of my time for awhile so before I leave this AM I figured I would throw out a few of thoughts on a couple of surprises.

Steve McNair’s girlfriend was surprised?
As has been rumored from the start, police are now confirming that former NFL quarterback Steve McNair was in fact the victim of a murder suicide committed by his 20 year old girlfriend on the side, Sahel Kazemi. It seems that one possibility being investigated as to why Kazemi killed McNair and then herself was that she was distraught because he might have been cheating on her with a third women. My question is, if in fact that was true, why would Kazemi be surprised considering she was already the “other woman” for the married McNair? It’s not like he hadn’t shown a penchant for such things…

I am surprised.
A new Gallup poll shows that 41% of respondents would still be likely to vote for Sarah Palin for President even after she quit as Alaska Governor. My question is why, considering her reaction to the relatively tame scrutiny she has had to endure in relation to what awaits if she ran for President, would people still think this woman could handle it? Too bad we couldn’t have her walk in Barack Obama’s shoes for a few days, I have a feeling she would be ready for a jacket with no sleeves and an extended stay in a room with rubber walls.

Enjoy your Thursday.

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Definition Of Irony

Isn’t it ironic that a new earth believing Arizona State Senator, Sylvia Allen, is speaking in favor of mining uranium, the very mineral often cited as scientific evidence to date the age of the earth at over 4.5 billion years old? Of course you don’t need much if any understanding of the science to be in favor of the mining as this woman proves, but ironic (and mind numbing) just the same.

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Peer Reviewed Study?

What do you call a study on human behavior that involves no human participants but is instead based on 100 years of tainted data? Of course you would call it a “study” conducted by the “save the gays by converting them” group the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and promoted by the homophobe’s from Focus On the Family. The study recently published in volume one of NARTH’s very own The Journal of Human Sexuality concludes, now hold your breath here, that sexual orientation can be changed, and that psychological care for individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions is generally beneficial with no significant risk of harm.

The “peer” reviewed study’s data used for this conclusion?

NARTH mined nearly 100 years of research on attempts to change sexual orientation. Of course, the vast majority of those studies were done when aversion therapy was commonly practiced, when many people sought therapy because they were convicted of homosexual offenses before Lawrence v. Texas to avoid jail, when few clinicians bothered to do any kind of follow-up, and when the APA still considered homosexuality a mental illness.

And what about the peers from this “peer reviewed” study?

And as for this new journal’s “peer reviewed” status? Well, I guess when you have a paper written by an anti-gay activist posing as a therapist, and you send that paper off to other anti-gay activists posing as therapists, all of whom are members of your tight little NARTH club with no possibility of an actual independent review taking place, then maybe I would have to concede that the effort was “peer reviewed.” Unfortunately, that’s not the definition accepted by the scientific community.

So what’s the next “scientific” study from NARTH being prepared for volume 2 of their new journal?

No one knows for sure but rumor has it (ok, so I started the rumor) that they have irrefutable peer reviewed data mined from former Miss California Carrie Prejean and Fred Phelps from the Westboro Baptist Church that shows that gays should not be allowed to marry.

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Sandlin Running For House

I guess Pat Powers will just have to go back to regurgitating more GOP “hit” press releases and continue to criticize Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and her husband for things like selling their Texas house at a loss versus slamming her for not deciding which office she will be running for as KELO has just reported that she is going to run for another term in the House in 2010.

Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin plans to run for re-election in 2010. Herseth Sandlin announced the decision on Tuesday. She has served as South Dakota’s only member of the House of Representatives since 2004.

In a statement from her office, Rep. Herseth Sandlin said, “I strongly believe I can best serve the state by building on the work I’ve undertaken over the last five years in Congress.”

Herseth Sandlin says she and her husband, Max, decided running for re-election is the best decision for their family. She says they have found a good balance between their professional lives and the time they spend with their young son.

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Everything Is Obama's Fault

Conservatives like to say that for some reason Sarah Palin scares liberals. Of course I don’t necessarily believe that sentiment as I personally think a Palin ticket would put Liberals back into the White House for another 4 years but one thing I do know is that in the minds of many Conservative wingnuts, President Barack Obama is to blame for literally everything that goes wrong in our country.

The latest case in point revolves around last nights fireworks at Mt Rushmore. For those that might be unaware, South Dakota’s treasured tourist magnet Mt Rushmore holds what many consider to be the country’s best fireworks show of the season drawing 10’s of thousands of visitors each 4th of July holiday. This year’s event was scheduled for last night and unfortunately the weather was pretty much wet and foggy for most of the day putting the show in doubt right up until the 9:30pm scheduled start time.

At the last minute the rain stopped but the fog remained but those in charge decided to go forward with the show anyway, narrated at least in part by Obama, and here is where it gets goofy at least as far as certain commentators on The Rapid City Journal’s story of the night are concerned…

Todd Potter wrote:

” Four famous presidents carved in stone, and who do we get quotes from??? OBAMA?? PATHETIC, Mount Rushmore, pathetic. Maybe we can out spend him in fireworks next year. “

goverment spending your money wrote:

” Obama and Baker having no problems spending your hard earned dollars. I dont even know what else to say!! “


sick of Obama wrote:

” Why oh why waste thousands and thousands of dollars in fireworks when you couldn’t see them. Wow…colored clouds…typical of the clody administration we have in Washington now I guess….someone has their head in the clouds…what a joke and another waste of taxpayer dollars. “

Figures wrote:

” In 2008 when Bush was President the fireworks were beautiful and when off perfectly. In 2009 Obama is President and we get this mess and waste. How is that hope and change working out for you? “

RK wrote:

” Since most of what Obama says and does is usually in the fog, the fog rather seemed appropriate since we had to listen to him during the lighted fog show.”

So there you have it, tin foil hat wearers have Obama being to blame for the bad weather, going forward with the show despite the inclement weather, and spending private donations (despite what above comments seem to imply, the show is not federally funded) on a fireworks show that no one could see.

Simply amazing.

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