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America's Turn From Science, a Danger For Democracy

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the tide-goes-in-tide-goes-out dept.

Education 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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U.S. is established on religion, so (3, Interesting)

InterestingFella (2537066) | more than 2 years ago | (#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:U.S. is established on religion, so (3, Insightful)

Relyx (52619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505774)

All good points. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to reason someone out of something they didn't reason themselves into.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506200)

All good points. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to reason someone out of something they didn't reason themselves into.

Agreed. Atheists can be very stubborn in their beliefs.

Oh, wait, did you mean...

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (1)

athe!st (1782368) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506216)

that's a great quote, will store later use

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38505804)

"completely disregards science in favor of what someone wrote on paper 1500-2000 years ago. " Hm, such as what, exactly ? In any event, this is more about politicians than preachers.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (0)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505934)

You're obviously slow, and we're not going to explain large swatches of information to you.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38506142)

"completely disregards science in favor of what someone wrote on paper 1500-2000 years ago. " Hm, such as what, exactly ?

They believe that unborn fetuses are unborn babies, and not body parts of the mother like science has shown them to be. Just because they have different genes doesn't make them not a body part! In fact, they're an edible body part, complete with all the nutrients a human body needs. Until they're born, they're fair game for anything the mother wants to do to them, including eating them.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (4, Insightful)

InfiniteZero (587028) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505840)

Here is the thing. Science is hard. Thinking is hard. Most people would rather live a comfortable lie than facing the cold, hard truth.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (5, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505988)

Gaining power is hard, too. Do you think that those who clawed their way to the top of the system have any interest in having their actions dictated by a bunch of nerds, beyond absolute unavoidable necessity?

Read up on the Manhattan Project and how the best minds in the world were treated by the military and the US Government. It should be instructive in understanding the "anti-science" attitude of the government today. The people changed, the mindset didn't. It isn't anti-science, it's anti ceding power.

We have a special word - statesman - for politicians who stop feeding at the trough long enough to do something good for mankind, or at least their nation. This word is not used often about politicians for good reason.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (2)

SkimTony (245337) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506060)

To cite a quote whose origins are muddy at best (and at any rate, I've forgotten them):
"A statesman is a dead politician. Heaven knows we need more statesmen."

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506218)

Technically, any politician automatically becomes a stateman posthumously because a politician dying intrinsically is doing something great for the country. There can be living statesmen though.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38505844)

Thank god there is no religion in china.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (3, Insightful)

jon42689 (1098973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505866)

Regardless of right or wrong, believing in something does not make it so.
While I do indeed believe in a creator God, that does not cause him to exist- while I am completely confident that I am correct, I may not be
While you do not believe in a creator God, that also does not cause his existence to be a false premise.

While I totally respect others who don't see things my way, I just find it ironic that most of the people whining about there being folks out there who believe in something are using the same "delusion" -if you will- to convince them that they are correct. No matter what you believe, there's never really a way to prove it by science alone in it's current state of study.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (5, Insightful)

errhuman (2226852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505932)

You are putting agnostics and atheists into one basket which makes as much sense as putting you in a basket with the fundies (you sound like a reasonable person). Even if you can't prove a negative, the onus is on the religious to provide infallible proof. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (2, Insightful)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505954)

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Funny, that's exactly what AGW skeptics keep saying...

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38506014)

Here's the one difference, the people concerned about Global Warming are actually quite diligent about providing evidence.

Of course, the anti-GW people refuse to even give them an iota of credit, and act as if they were proposing something without any shred of thought, logic, or evidence.

That is not true.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (3, Informative)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506076)

Good thing we've got it then.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506226)

(ignoring the pathetic, politically motivated derail)
I don't think anybody's complaining that climate scientists aren't providing evidence (it's kind of their job after all). Yeah, there's [valid or invalid] questions about the implications of the evidence, or the scope. Regardless of which side you pick, I think we can all safely say that there is a lot of study into the matter. Millions of dollars poured in on all sides.

And if they are complaining about that, then fuck them.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38506020)

But then that demands an answer to the question as to which is actually the more extraordinary claim: that the universe as a whole was designed by someone, or that everything happened purely by chance.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (3, Interesting)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506104)

You are putting agnostics and atheists into one basket which makes as much sense as putting you in a basket with the fundies (you sound like a reasonable person). Even if you can't prove a negative, the onus is on the religious to provide infallible proof.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

You're not going to find irrefutable proof either for or against the claims of (for the sake of discussion) Christianity. You're going to have to gather information as best you can, and make a judgment call. If you really care about getting to the truth of some matter, there's no shortcut around doing your own thinking.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505968)

There was a separation of church and state in America.
This doesn't matter if you can prove it or disprove it, it's completely separate.
It can be Schrodinger's cat as far as we care.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506052)

There's no need to prove that a given belief is completely correct. One just needs a method to compare two beliefs/hypotheses and see which one makes better predictions. Thanks science!

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38505886)

Religions are established for the same reason societies and cultures are naturally formed: to allow people with similar beliefs and ideals to congregate and grow together.

Now, I don't know what goofball idea you got from the idea that America was established on the basis OF religion, because it was not. It was established on a few very simple principles: 1) Freedom of expression of religion and the separation of church and state, so that the powers that be don't go all-out and just say, "that's how it is because the book says so and since I'm king I can tell you to do whatever I say without reason." 2) Reason itself was established and maintained as the means of order, ie, laws and policies, a constitution of the people. 3) Science is not just numbers, technology and confirmed facts; it's roots come from religion, and wanting to understand the natural world (and has evolved to wanting to understand the natural universe(s)).

Science and religion are essentially the same thing: they both seek to explain the world, and not all religions are based on hookey folklore written by some drunkard or druggy. The former is based on the observable world, and the latter is based on the spiritual (human conscious) world.

Our forefathers knew it was important to have both spiritual observance and material observance. Spirit was associated with the individual, and material with the whole; thus, they needed to separate the individual from the whole for independence to be feasible in the first place.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38506090)

Now, I don't know what goofball idea you got from the idea that America was established on the basis OF religion, because it was not. It was established on a few very simple principles: 1) Freedom of expression of religion and the separation of church and state

In the early USA, one had to be a member of a church to have the right to vote, learn YOUR history.

Science and religion are essentially the same thing: they both seek to explain the world

Not at all: religion does not seek to explain the world, it seeks to tell you what you have to do.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (2, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505894)

You are committing the error of stereotyping. Plenty of people call themselves "Christian" who take certain ideas from the Bible and from their religious tradition to be a basis for treating others well, helping others, being honest, hardworking, creative, etc. For that matter, plenty of Jewish and Muslim people do the same thing, even though they consider the writings of their religions to be mix entertaining stories and also to contain some philosophy on how to live.

Many other countries in the world have heavy religious influence in their founding or building of their culture. name one that doesn't.

The USA still leads in many areas of science. The exploration of space by probes is one such area, those recent discoveries of earth-sized and habitable zone planets, for example

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (3, Informative)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506074)

Many other countries in the world have heavy religious influence in their founding or building of their culture. name one that doesn't.

Australia. We were founded on sending prisoners as far away from Britan as possible. While the US is similar, you guys had a revolution to install god as your mascot.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505906)

Who is going to answer your questions on /.? and 2th?

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (5, Informative)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505908)

Actually this is a misnomer. The US was established on freedom of and from oppressive religion. Many of our founding fathers were atheists/Deists (For the pre-darwin time I would consider deism pretty close to atheism, considering they more or less believed that god takes no active part in the world today). In god we trust was added to our money, and "under god" was added to our pledge in the 1950's. Both spit in the face of what the founding fathers had intended with separation of church and state.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (5, Informative)

Pax681 (1002592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506036)

Actually this is a misnomer. The US was established on freedom of and from oppressive religion. Many of our founding fathers were atheists/Deists (For the pre-darwin time I would consider deism pretty close to atheism, considering they more or less believed that god takes no active part in the world today). In god we trust was added to our money, and "under god" was added to our pledge in the 1950's. Both spit in the face of what the founding fathers had intended with separation of church and state.

this post is 100% spot on. to claim a christian foundation for the USA is blatantly rewriting history

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (0, Troll)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505918)

The US got dragged kicking and screaming into science by WW II. The Cold War sustained that.
Now that this is over, thank $DEITY we can all get rid of this science nonsense and focus on the important things like power, money and religion.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (5, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505944)

The whole U.S. is established on the idea of God and religion.

Sorry, this is just a myth. The founding fathers were deists, as secular as you could be in their day. The Constitution contains one reference to deity, in "the year of our lord". The Federalist Papers have equally few mentions of any sort of god.

You are falling for the revisionist history perpetuated by the very people you are afraid of. "Under God" wasn't even added to the pledge of allegiance until 1948. The real philosophical basis of the United States are the ideals of the Enlightenment, which we have progressively lost as we slip into a modern dark ages.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38505970)

What blows my mind away, is how many scientists, and by my observation in all fields, have a firm belief in God.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (5, Informative)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506044)

I don't think that the US is established on the idea of God and religion. The Religious Right wants to rewrite history and make the US a Christian nation, but we were founded on religious freedom. On the principle that the government shouldn't dictate to you which religion you practice (if any) and how you practice it (again, if any). A Catholic can go to Church at the same time as a Jew can go to Temple and a Muslim can attend services in a Mosque. Please don't confuse the Religious Right's agenda of turning the US into a theocracy with the normal religious person's agenda of practicing their religion without someone telling them that they can't because the government outlawed it.

For the record: Yes, I am religious. No, I don't want to push my religious views on anyone else and I just ask that others don't try to force their religious views - or lack thereof - on me. I'm fine with a friendly conversation on the merits and/or pitfalls of religion, but name-calling, insults or threats have no place there. (This goes both ways. I'd expect that religious folks talking with atheists refrain from any "You're going to burn in hell, heathen" talk. Not that the atheist would be scared, but it's just not polite.)

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506050)

I'm disappointed that the parent hasn't been modded into oblivion as Flamebait, Troll, or Off-topic.

Not because the fundamental concerns expressed are unworthy of discussion, but because the post is mostly a prolonged invective.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (1)

kick6 (1081615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506086)

The whole U.S. is established on the idea of God and religion. It's everywhere in the U.S. culture.

Apparently you and I live in two entirely different US'es. Oh, and I live in Texas which many consider to be backwater, bible-thumperville, and I STILL don't see this pervasive godliness. There's a lot of engineering going on outside of America's mega-churches.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (not) (3, Interesting)

OFnow (1098151) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (2, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506114)

The whole U.S. is established on the idea of God and religion.

There's a fairly large body of evidence that despite the constant mentions of "God", the founding fathers were all secular.

The separation of Church and State is one of the founding principles. As well, religious freedom is specifically addressed by the Bill of Rights, and even prior to that when the second constutional congress thought it unnecessary to enumerate what rights the State may not violate because it was so obvious.

So no, the United States was not founded on religion specifically, though religious freedom was one cause of the breakaway from British--specifically English--rule.

All of the founding fathers, and other influential people at that time, were highly educated and equally understood and accepted the founding principles of freedom.

Religion's role in politics is largely an invention of the 20th century going into the 21st century. Prior to that, it was race, which cumulated in the civil rights movement of the 1960's. And before that was the issue of slavery, which resulted in the Civil War. Interesting digression: there never was division in the government about how to treat Native Americans. Anyway, you can say that the civil rights movement was finishing what the Civil War began.

If anything, this country was founded on extreme duality and compromises. Religion just happens to be the current subject of the duality, though even that could be argued to have grown out of the race and ultimately slavery issue. But once the religion issue is settled (if it ever does), there will be the next fad.

If you take a close look at U.S. history, the root cause of all the current spate of problems goes back to the slavery issue. Religion wasn't written into the Constitution, but slavery certainly was. And the hostility towards Obama has to do with those very same sentiments (and look at how the GOP treated Herman Cain). But since race is a taboo, the same bigoted elements switched to religion, only, said elements found religion to be a much more effective motivator, and much harder to make taboo.

The unfortunate side effect of religion being the subject of the duality is that education, specifically higher education subjects including math, science, engineering, and philosophy, gets thrown under the bus. But that's what taking extreme positions on religion does. Look at the Muslim world to see the results. Look at the dark ages for an example a little closer to home (considering that the U.S. started as an extension of Europe).

There are certainly other problems caused by other deep-rooted sentiments. E.g. current and past foreign policy is largely due to manifest destiny and the way Native Americans were treated. But the extreme duality of the country with regards to religion is not ultimately about religion itself, but about race and slavery.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (1)

bfandreas (603438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506166)

Woah, hold it right there.
People went to the Americas to chase the Dream. The Dream was quite modest. A bit of land for some. Freedom to pray as they please for some. Faith wasn't what united these people. The Dream was. And the Dream was different for each individual. Naming religion as a unifying thing that applies to all of them is just plain wrong. Who told you that? Humans never had one and the same motivation to do stuff.
For the record. The US didn't break off their colonial overlords over matters of faith. They broke off due to classic Whig thinking that was actually centuries old. The Brits reckoned since they fought off the French on American soil quite a bit of the financial burden should should be shared by you lot. They introduced Stamp Tax without consulting the 13 parliaments that had been established. And they reckoned themselves being the equal to Whitehall.Rightfully so. This snub resulted in what happened afterwards.No taxation without representation. The irony is Whitehall thought nothing of Stamp Tax.
On a side note:
Religion is a funny old thing.It's supposed to bring inner peace and ends up being imposed on others. Then it becomes a contest of who prays louder. We burnt Savonarola when he pissed away the achievements of the Renaissance and now some people want him to be declared a saint. I say a lovely fire in winter warms our hearts and minds. We are currently at the end of our third Renaissance and there are a couple of Savonarolas desperate for a BBQ.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (1)

deanklear (2529024) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506212)

That fact alone tells that U.S. has never been about, or seek to know, science

This is wrong. America (as in the nation-state) was founded by followers of the Enlightenment [wikipedia.org] , who believed fully that science was the answer to everything. It was an outright rejection of supernaturalism, though many were Deists and believed that someone had set the universal machine in motion.

Don't let anyone tell you that America was founded on religious zealotry. It was settled by Puritans, whose horrible intolerance have never quite gone away, but the blight of Evangelicals is a modern problem. So modern that Bush I was the first Republican to lose the election (in part) because he refused to self-identify as an Evangelical, and because he made the mistake of doing something sensible like raising taxes to cover deficits. Mitt Romney will be the second to lose because of his religious affiliation, because he's not pure enough for the religious voting bloc that now controls the GOP.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506230)

Foremost I'm not religious, unless not having a religion is a religion. Now on to the meat and potatoes your whole argument was well thought out and well written. I could have saved you some time though. The bible was not written by a person. It's comprised of several "books" written by different people, some were written well after the person they are about had passed.

A better argument would have been "believing the writings of a book edited by a king". The current bible in most use in the US is the King James version. Makes one wonder, what was left out of the original text, what was rearranged and what-not.

There's also no direct evidence to disprove a supreme being, there's also no direct evidence to support everything wasn't created by said being.

You can have both a creator and creationism, while at the same time having evolution. Why do the two have to be mutually exclusive?

While I support the theory of evolution there are truths that don't fit into that bill. Take the dinosaurs for example, the time we have walked the earth compared to the length of time they walked is not even a grain of sand on a beach, yet somehow we evolved, we invent. Why is it that when their time span was well over a million times longer than ours did they not evolve to think and reason?

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38506240)

And I suppose some "drunk guy" made this 2000 years ago.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2076443/Turin-Shroud-created-flash-supernatural-light.html

Just think about it.

Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (5, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506242)

Actually, the funny thing is no, it wasn't.

Most if not all of the founding fathers were very leery of religion ("a lighthouse is more useful than a Church"...).It's fascinating how the original, free-thinking US have been turned into such a bigotted a state that politicians have to fill stadiums with prayer meetings. And all the more so since the bible say that worshipping publicly is the devil's work, so not only bigotted, but in a false (the higher-ups) and idiotic (the lower-downs) way.
And the way out of this ess is not even to argue that logic and reason should win over religion, but that the politicized, public, for-pay version of religion that has evolved is evil per se, and denounced as thus in the bible.

Don't try to reason with a bigot. Scripture him into shame.

Danger for which democracy? (4, Insightful)

mseeger (40923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505810)

Hmmm.....

- about 30% voter turnout
- Election looser becomes president (2000)
- You need a billion US$ campaign funds to have a chance
- Heriditary tendencies for seats in congress/senate
- ....

So not much left to endanger IMHO. Sorry!

Re:Danger for which democracy? (4, Insightful)

am 2k (217885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506018)

Not even mentioning that there are no discernible differences between the policies of the only two parties: both are pro-big business, pro-military and pro-police state.

Re:Danger for which democracy? (0)

Sarius64 (880298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506146)

Hmmm.....

- about 30% voter turnout - Election looser becomes president (2000) - You need a billion US$ campaign funds to have a chance - Heriditary tendencies for seats in congress/senate - ....

So not much left to endanger IMHO. Sorry!

Nice to meet you Sour Grapes. Anytime you wish to document the anonymous $100 million Obama received, we're listening.

P.S. Bush won.

Re:Danger for which democracy? (4, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506156)

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]

Climate Change (-1, Flamebait)

acoustix (123925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505814)

Fact: The climate has perpetually changed from the beginning of the Earth until present. Fact: The climate will continue to change until the end of time.

What exactly are politicians supposed to do about something out of our control?

Re:Climate Change (1)

Sollord (888521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505848)

Give the greens who support you money so they can build uncompetitive solar plane plants

Re:Climate Change (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505878)

Clearly we're supposed to do whatever we can to make reality match our expectations.

Re:Climate Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38505884)

I RTFA (I know, what's wrong with me?) and found this gem:

What makes dealing with climate change so difficult?

"Nobody wants to feel bad about the future. Everybody wants to be hopeful."

Yeah, that's it. The only reason people resist a total overhaul of our economic system is because we want to feel hopeful about the future.

Re:Climate Change (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506132)

Anyone who tells you that dealing with climate change requires a "total overhaul of our economic system" is a liar. If you tell other people that, you become a liar. You don't want to be a liar, do you?

Re:Climate Change (2, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505898)

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.

Re:Climate Change (1)

ZouPrime (460611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505912)

Fact: asteroids have been striking our planet from the beginning of the Earth until present. Fact: Asteroids are going to continue falling on our planet until the end of time.

Clearly, this means we shouldn't do anything to protect ourselves. And if for some reason we strongly suspect that some of our own actions have the side effect of raising the chances of an asteroid striking us, well, we shouldn't do anything about it.

Re:Climate Change (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505920)

What's it like to be part of the anti-science crackpot brigade?

Re:Climate Change (2)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505930)

What exactly are politicians supposed to do about something out of our control?

Not much. I am more concerned with doing something about the climate change that IS IN OUR CONTROL

Re:Climate Change (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505948)

You might want to ask the Fishermen in the North Atlantic how that idea that fish stock perpetually fluctuates is working out for them.

Re:Climate Change (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505986)

Climate changes over time, yes. Over thousands/hundreds-of-thousands of years.
This is within a scale of less than 10 decades.

Re:Climate Change (1, Insightful)

geek (5680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506002)

The question isn't about Climate Change. It's about whether HUMANS are causing that change. Something I will admit to being skeptical about but am interested in seeing real data not corrupted by oil companies or extreme left wing professors interested more in grants than science.

The problem occurs when people start making policy based on fear. Our system in the US is designed to be very slow, the thought being that if things are slowed down and debate is forced on policy makers better decisions will be made. In practice our politicians have found ways around this by using fear and sensationalism. Just a year or two ago I recall the UN saying climate change would lead to end of the world scenarios in only 6-9 months. Al Gore has said very similar things about rising water levels, onyl to turn around and buy a multi-million dollar home right on the beach.

Politicians love fear. Fear will make you vote for them, it will bring you to the edge of reason and beyond to act exactly as they wish you too. Case in point, the adds against Paul Ryan showing him pushing old people in wheelchairs off of cliffs. The add recently by Newt Gingrich equating his political situation in the caucuses to Pearl Harbor. Politicians will say anything they can to make you afraid, or to align themselves as the good guys while their opponents are the bad guys.

They all do it, left or right. One side claims doing anything about climate change will bankrupt the world and make us all into Zimbabwe where they haul wheel barrows full of money to the store in order to buy bread, while the other side claims we'll all be dead in massive storms like in the movies.

The only answer to these assholes is to vote third party and stop donating to them. There is no logical reason why we have only two parties in the country with any power. The binary nature of our political system is what makes it so ripe for abuse. Voting MATTERS. Stop buying into either sides bullshit.

Here we go again with the "Climate Deniers" (2, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505822)

"I think it's a myth Americans aren't interested. It's a myth they don't like science and scientists ... But there's some partisan political affiliation going on, and sometimes science tells them they don't want to hear and they don't like to deal with. Climate change is a great example, because the problem is so enormous and the implications mean restructuring our economy and our energy supply system."

The problem with this oft-repeated trope is that the pro-AGW forces are inevitably playing politics with the very "science" they claim to rest their arguments on. Over and over, we read of hidden, manipulated, and cherry-picked data, refusals to abide with having outsiders vet their work, and allowing naked advocacy into the IPCC reports on climate change as if they were peer-reviewed science. "Truthout" -- one of the most preposterous names imaginable -- here advances the same political agenda. It is environmentalism wrapped in a lab coat.

The Canadians walked away from Kyoto; shall we ask if they, too, are anti-science? Or does that only cover the US?

Re:Here we go again with the "Climate Deniers" (5, Informative)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505922)

The Canadians walked away from Kyoto; shall we ask if they, too, are anti-science?

Your unspoken assumption that Canadians walked away from Kyoto for scientific reasons is a neat summary of all your other unspoken assumptions, and a neat proxy for how wrong you are on them as well. There's a nice summary of the actual situation here: http://www.politics.ubc.ca/fileadmin/user_upload/poli_sci/Faculty/harrison/Canada_US_august.pdf [politics.ubc.ca]

Re:Here we go again with the "Climate Deniers" (0, Troll)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505924)

I would also note (before we both get modded into oblivion for not toeing the line), that all the solutions amount to taking money from "rich" people and giving it to "poor" people - not actually doing anything. Sort of like the entire thing was concocted to force wealth distribution.

Re:Here we go again with the "Climate Deniers" (3, Insightful)

OutSourcingIsTreason (734571) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506174)

As opposed to to taking a trillion dollars from the "poor" people to pay for the Iraqi oil war, which benefits the "rich" people. Forced wealth distribution in the stupid direction.

Re:Here we go again with the "Climate Deniers" (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505978)

"Over and over, we read of hidden, manipulated, and cherry-picked data, refusals to abide with having outsiders vet their work, and allowing naked advocacy into the IPCC reports on climate change as if they were peer-reviewed science. "

No, we don't; you just made those things up.

Re:Here we go again with the "Climate Deniers" (2)

capedgirardeau (531367) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506046)

While the things you quoted are in fact totally false, it does not mean that the right wing, sci denying echo chamber some of these folks live in, doesn't repeat them all over and over even in direct contradiction to the original data and recent explanations of why those assertions are wrong.

So no, unfortunately he didn't make that up, he probably does keep hearing those things, lies though they be.

Re:Here we go again with the "Climate Deniers" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38506068)

The canadians "walked away" from Kyoto, as the result of a decision from a prime minister who believes the earth is 6000 year olds.
He also fired his science advisor nearly 2 years ago and is in the process of gutting anything that has to do with science.

Re:Here we go again with the "Climate Deniers" (3, Interesting)

SputnikPanic (927985) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Here we go again with the "Climate Deniers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38506108)

The political environment in Canada no longer differs as much as it used to from that in the US. Religious fundamentalists now have significant influence in the current government. Much of the media has taken on a right wing slant. It is not at all unusual to see newspaper columns and editorials parroting various talking points disputing whether global warming is happening, that it matters, or that we can do anything about it. Government scientists have been muzzled (and, with substantial funding cuts for in-house scientific work underway, many of them will be looking for alternative employment). Not a very encouraging situation.

Conservatives in Power in Canada (3, Interesting)

kawabago (551139) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Here we go again with the "Climate Deniers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38506178)

The work is vetted in peer reviewed papers. You can read them and publish corrections if you find errors in these papers. As for the raw data, these weren't collected by the scientists who published the papers but mostly by the different national administrations in charge of collecting weather/climate data. You have as much access to those as third party climatologists not part of these organisations.

Re:Here we go again with the "Climate Deniers" (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506194)

How do you explain this [nydailynews.com] ? Did the Koch brothers forget a bribe payment?

I strongly disagree! (4, Funny)

ZouPrime (460611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505826)

"They take one of two routes: deny the science, or pretend the problems don't exist."

First, the analysis presented by the author is fraudulent, nonsensical, and just a creation of the liberal elite. Second, there's simply no issue with how politicians deal with scientific facts, I don't know why anyone would say something like that.

Re:I strongly disagree! (2, Insightful)

mc_barron (546164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505926)

The "liberal elite"... who is that? (Honest question; I hear people who tend toward socially conservative views calling out this mystery group without specifying exactly who they are.)

Re:I strongly disagree! (0)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506100)

As a viewer of the Daily Show, let me guess what they are thinking...according to Glenn Beck's wise and raptuous sermons, George Soros is a good place to start. Though I really don't think they need to put a name on their straw man.

Re:I strongly disagree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38506120)

The "liberal elite" sounds like some group of people with power trying to push freedom down our throats.

Well, fuck them! I refuse to be free! I will not abstain from doing the opposite of what they're not forbidding me from avoiding to do!

Re:I strongly disagree! (1)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506206)

George Soros is the Conservatives' boogeyman. You should look him up. The conspiracy theories they come up with are hilarious. I actually haven't heard of Soros making comments about climate change, but climate change is always pulled in to the conspiracy theories about him.

Re:I strongly disagree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38505976)

I hope you know, people like you are damning the human race to extinction.

Re:I strongly disagree! (1)

ZouPrime (460611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506024)

It was a joke guys. I'm sorry the sarcasm wasn't limpid enough for slashdot.

Re:I strongly disagree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38506056)

It was a good joke. I wanted to post something similar but couldn't come up with a good wording. Good job. However, you being modded +3 without being modded funny is quite frightening actually.

Re:I strongly disagree! (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506072)

The problem with your sarcasm is that it is indistinguishable from the actual position of some people on Slashdot. I was scratching my head at your post, trying to figure out if it was real or not.... Then went with sarcasm just because it's easier to be wrong when giving people the benefit of the doubt.

Re:I strongly disagree! (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506028)

You're right... everyone who thinks different than you is the liberal elite.

Not at risk (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38505846)

I'm going to take the latter course and pretend the risk to our country doesn't exist.

Can somebody reply and deny the article, so we cover all our bases?

Oooh look! Kardashians!

Lawyers, Accountants with MBAs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38505850)

~running the military and special ops including HAARP and more terrifying weapons systems can't be good for this country.

Conspiracy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38505890)

This book is clearly proof of a huge conspiracy by high school science teachers. By pretending science should be important, they hope to keep their jobs and to be able to garner higher wages. Fortunately, we can count on the heroism of our politicians and bankers to protect us from such lies and reestablish the truth.

Japanese did it! (1)

smoothnorman (1670542) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505900)

"rika banare" "away-from science"

( &#29702;&#31185;&#38626;&#12428; <p> <--- whaat? no unicode in slashdot comments?)

http://www.google.com/search?q= [google.com] "rika+banare" (heh... wikipedia only suggests "rika banana")

The Scientific Method (the basis of science) ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38505942)

... is based on forming a hypothesis and then testing it.
And then making the data and conclusions public for others to test and try to verify the conclusions.
Climate "science" fails on all counts.
Note that this does not deny that warming may or may not be occurring, just that observation is NOT science. Coincidence is NOT causality.
The American public isn't stupid, they just haven't seen any actual science in action.
And they have seen repeated examples of the politicization of the the subject.

Bogus Title (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505952)

Why not just make it correct "Are Americans Turning Away From Big Government?"

That is the real issue. Post WWII the government wanted control over science largely to accelerate certain military objectives. They ended up making all science a pig feeding at the government trough. In addition, more people are turning from the notion that government can solve all problems - and that is true regardless of the input being from "science" or anyone else.

Yes, but (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505956)

Yes but we have "American Idol", "Dancing With the Stars", and last but not least, the "Kardashians"! p.s. How come the "Kardashians" never talk about the other sister "Khlamydia"?

nothing new (4, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#38505960)

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.

Not just the GOP (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506000)

While the Repbulican leaders are clearly anti-science, the real problem is that the Democrat are not really pro-science. The Democrat leaders tend to be nuetral - neither pro nor against..

Everyone complains about the anti-evolution, anti-climate of the GOP. They fail to talk about the anti-chemistry/anti-rocketry views of the Democrats. Try to build a model rocket in a liberal state. Can't go to the store and get the rocket motors - they are illegal. Afraid of fireworks, etc.

The independents aren't any better. Some anti-science views are unpolitical. Similar problems exist with anti-computer. Can't have the kids do anything fun like hack their own phones. OH no, that pisses of the media corps. Who cares if experimentation is pro-science and it teaches people to think.

Then there is the anti-vaccination crowd.

The anti-science movement is not just republican. It is an non-denominational problem. We need to start making Science a focus. Make it a priority above and beyond pollution (climate change), above and beyond 'vandalism masquerading as safety concerns' (firework laws), above and beyond cultish stupidity (lies about vaccinces), above and beyond profits for media companies.

Science or Climate Change? (1)

TXISDude (1171607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506078)

The article (yes, I RTFA) says very little about science other than climate change - What about alternative energy (regardless of greenhouse gases), computers, space exploration, advances in transportation, standard of living, food generation, medical care, etc. Science is everywhere, yet we either take it for granted or ignore what we don't want to confront. SOPA is correct in idea - we need to protect intellectual property, but flawed in science - the way they want to do it does not fit with how the Internet and networking was designed . . . I bet we ignore the science and pass a law because it is so important . . . Science doesn't do sound bites, so we won't find the Higgs particle in the US, nor will will solve many of the upcoming scientific grand challenges. We deserve the fate we select . . .

Not just politicians... (0)

gura (10074) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506102)

Look at the idiocy surrounding "Climate Change". Even so-called scientists are turning away from real science.

Because we can't solve climate change (2)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506140)

Even if we accept the science of climate change, the problem is too hard to fix.

No politician is going to tell its people to stop driving cars. It is much easier to deny the problem than to deal with the reality. Even the pro science politicians are only proposing ideas that are mostly for show.

If someone comes up with a solution to fix climate change without requiring major sacrifices from its citizens, then all the politicians will be conveniently pro science again.

Re:Because we can't solve climate change (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506202)

Now this is probably the most honest answer I have seen about climate change.

The thing is, there is real question about how true it is. We don't need to stop driving cars, we just need to switch to electric vehicles and then upgrade our powerplants.

This will raise the cost per mile and raise the cost of electricity, but it should be enough of a fix to let the planet recover.

People are now more intelligent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38506148)

As the human race's collective intelligence keeps increasing, so does our disdain for 'science'. More and more people are accepting Him as our Savior which means we don't need to invent entire fields of study to explain the ways in which our Lord works. Science is a human invention -- it does not transcend God. It's blasphemous to think otherwise!

Following the LORD is North America's next real step in 'evolution'. We can finally leave the scientists behind.

Sloppy writing and editing is the real danger (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506162)

Given the subject matter, I found it ironically frustrating that the article clearly received very little editorial review. Missing words, incorrect words and dubious grammar gave the impression of a hastily dashed off opinion piece rather than a thought-provoking analysis of a disturbing social trend. In fact, the sloppy writing/editing caused me to hit the back button before I had even finished reading the article in its entirety.

IMO, sloppy and imprecise thinking and communication is just as much of a danger for democracy as a "turn from science". In fact, the latter may just be a symptom of the former.

It's simple really... (0)

maple_shaft (1046302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506170)

Science helps to uncover the deep truths of reality, and we all know that our Neo-Conservative overlords will never support that which brings truth to light... Reality after all has a clear liberal bias.

semantics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38506220)

Over the last few years you folks in the media have been redefining terms too much. Theories are now called science and those that question them (which is part of the scientific method) are called deniers. Please stop parroting the liberal talking points.

Nothing new here ... (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38506238)

By some coincidence, just yesterday someone replied to a post of mine with a link to a relevant book on the topic [amazon.com] . This was in the discussion of the report that a lot of security cameras are broken or were never installed correctly (or were fakes from the start), but it applies here equally well.

It's all part of a universal aspect of "human nature", in which groups (including governments, corporations, etc.) rarely respond to a problem until it has grown into a serious disaster. This is true even when a problem is well-understood by part of the population. There are often pressures to make decisions that produce short-term benefits to the decision makers. This typically involves ignoring unpleasant facts, and denigrating the people who push for acting on problems.

About all we can do is keep trying to bring the facts (including the science) to people's attention. But so far, we don't seem to have any effective ways to persuade them to listen. And society's leaders always seem to have good reasons to encourage general ignorance ("bread and circuses").

Maybe this will be the next big social advance, to follow the Enlightenment and Democracy after an unknown number of centuries. I wonder if there are any studies that have turned up any approaches that are verified to work? I haven't read of them, if they exist.

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