Category Science

Absolute Certainty Is Scientific

But only because it’s necessary when dealing with a public taught to distrust science, and read scholarly uncertainty as a vulnerability to be exploited for political gain, not for further evidence-based research. For the Wall Street Journal, Dan Botkin argues otherwise, claiming that when climate change activists (or scientists in support of the cause) claim […]

Today’s Thin Excuses for Scientific Denialism

No-one is more surprised than me by the vocal, negative reaction we’re seeing among conservatives actually offended by the charge that their candidates, especially Rick Perry, are “anti-science.” I rather thought this would be a point of pride; isn’t “mainstream science” an “elitist” liberal construct? In any event, the counter-offensive, supplied by the National Review‘s Rich Lowry, goes […]

Your New Must-Read Site

It’s a rare privilege to be able to recommend a good friend’s work wholeheartedly. Much less two friends’ work. So I’m going to enjoy this. Julia Galef is one of my very most favorite people in the world, and one of the smartest I’ve had the privilege to get to know since moving to New […]

Science and the Public: the Prevalence of Discredited Mythology

Observers on the modern era will agree that one of the greatest weaknesses of democracy is the public’s inability to responsibly discuss science. As an example, this week saw the release of a study conclusively refuting the alleged “link” between vaccines and autism, and revealing England’s Dr. Wakefield, the originator of this pernicious lie, as […]

A Scientific Explanation for Creationists

And global warming deniers, and other adherent to those pernicious scientific minority views, that curiously become political plurality views. From a commentator on the study: The authors [of a new study] favor a model, called the cultural cognition of risk, which “refers to the tendency of individuals to form risk perceptions that are congenial to their […]

Where’s the Harm in Teaching Creationism?

Bear with me. For a moment, imagine away the First Amendment. There’s no legal barrier to creationism, and permitting its teaching won’t necessarily imply an erosion of any other legal barriers. Is this video still worrying? There are a couple ways of getting to yes. First (and most obviously), by arguing First Amendment values, even […]

Gay Marriage & the Finite Nature of Fabian Delay

This post was scheduled for this morning — but I made a huge mistake. Apologies!! Insofar as it exists, the rational case against gay marriage depends upon surprise and caution — homosexuality, the argument goes, is new, at least as an institution, and its repercussions on family life can’t yet be fully gauged. We should […]

But Pericles, Have You Gotten a Load of the Many?

In Alabama’s Republican gubernatorial primary, the central issue appears to be the slanderous allegation that Bradley Byrne may not, in fact, be a creationist: He’s here to assure you that he is: As a Christian and as a public servant, I have never wavered in my belief that this world and everything in it is […]

Deaf as Adders

Caleb Howe of RedState, a downright decent guy writing for a den of vipers, was shocked and appalled that I wasn’t shocked and appalled by his Saturday post on global warming, here. Unfortunately, I was too sick on Saturday to read much of anything, and thus had to miss it. Thankfully for Caleb, this also […]

Climate Change: “Facts are Stubborn Things…”

With the recent rash of climate change “scandals” — none of which actually altered the overwhelming scientific consensus in favor of anthropogenic global warming’s existence — conservatives have been, lately, chipping away at the public perception of this issue’s fierce immediacy. Texas Governor Rick Perry’s attempt to litigate the matter, however — a quixotic quest […]