FreeThought Fort Wayne

        Be Reasonable

Truth v. Facts: The Reality-Based Community

Posted by dystressed on November 9, 2008

Sharon Begley at Newsweek has another article on what she hopes for the new Obama Administration: Reality-based Science.

We have lost so much due to misinterpretation (or perhaps dis-interpretation) of the facts. We have lost ground in the fight against global warming, stem cell research and other life sciences.

The truly poisonous legacy of the past eight years is one that spread to much of society and will therefore be much harder to undo: the utter contempt with which those in power viewed inconvenient facts, empiricism and science in general.

I would also contend that the ugly stepchild of this practice is the crass anti-intellectualism that has pervaded society in recent years. We need intelligence to lead our nation. Just because we would rather have a beer with John McCain or Sarah Palin, that doesn’t really qualify them for the White House more than a lawyer from Harvard.

Without a drastic change, we will continue to be mired down by anti-achievers and naysayers. We must embrace science and progress in order to overcome the ever mounting problems facing society.

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9 Responses to “Truth v. Facts: The Reality-Based Community”

  1. Theo Doersing said

    I don’t want to have a beer with McCain or Palin. I would need many beers just to tolerate talking to them.

    Maybe if I were more of a mavericky Joe six-pack.

  2. andyscathouse said

    I would have a beer with President Elect Obama. Wouldn’t you guys?

    Great post! The anti-science attitudes and anti-intellectualism are very bad for business in the long run. This is the ugly side of the Right wingers. They really should see that science means money and health…. True fiscal conservatism accounts for the total economic costs including pollution and harmful by-products such as human warming… (The planet will be fine without us).

  3. Milt W. said

    “We have lost ground in the fight against global warming, stem cell research”

    Global warming is a myth, as recent studies have concluded. We don’t need to be killing babies for stem cell research. There are alternatives as if your educated on the matter, you know this already.

    If those two items are at the top of your agenda, you’re blind.

    Hang on to your asses or bend over. Obama’s going to finish-off this country with his socialist spending plans.

  4. andyscathouse said

    Milt,

    Are you just in the mood to troll? Do you offer any evidence other than listening to Michael Savage types?

    Scientists need embryonic stem cells to do research to figure out we don’t need them as a control. I love how Bush types try to take credit for adult stem cell research when in fact the research that led to recent advances was done in Japan. Country First! The most promise still lies in embryonic stem cell research.

    “Global Warming is a myth” is a big statement offered with no support. McCain’s positions were similar to Sen. Obama’s on global warming so we didn’t hear much debate in this field. It would be smarter to argue the coefficient of human impact on global warming.

    “Obama’s going to finish-off this country with his socialist spending plans.” That is off topic and a red herring to this post. For example, it would be like me saying Sarah Palin’s belief in talking snakes, donkeys, and burning bushes would have literally launched the US into a human made extinction. She is not only ignorant but it is much worse to be proud of it.

  5. Andy said

    Glad to see the tone of the last eight years which prided itself on anti-intellectualism and misinformation coming to a close.
    The Age of Enlightenment just might be staging a comeback in America.

    I routinely refer to what Al Gore labels as the assault on reason to also include the “dumbification of America” (i.e. – the Get ‘R Done ! crowd and the glorification of the booty-shakin, bling-bling, narcissistic behavior which also permeated the airwaves).

    For far too long, the more louder, obnoxious and belligerent one became in the public arena, the more praise and attention one would receive in America. This strategy of talking over, bullying or overwhelming your opponent still appears to be the crux of the Fox news network (Bill O’Reilly’s emotionally-charged rants – commanding guests to Shut Up ! – who dared to disagree with him). Maybe it started with the Jerry Springer show, proceeded to work its way up the ranks (maybe further down?) and eventually found its way to the highest office in our country. No, I’m afraid this sort of glorified garbage has been used effectively as propaganda for centuries. Joseph Goebbels would have been utterly proud.

    It is refreshing to witness a return to reality-based science and critical thinking. If we are to evolve as a species and elevate our level of being, or even just survive as a country, focusing on facts and reality is an absolute must.

  6. agnohumanist said

    Milt,
    You should read Sam Harris’s take on stem cell research in “Letter to a Christian Nation.” He mentions that what scientists use in stem cell research is, of course, not a “baby,” as you called it, but rather a cluster of fewer–much fewer–cells than a brain of a fly has. Oh, and I have to laugh at how many people accuse Obama of being a socialist. They do this because of what? His plan to raise the marginal tax rate from 35% to 39.6%? Do you know what it was unter Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy? 91%!! Do you think they were socialists? How about Nixon? The marginal rate was 70% under him. I’ve heard Nixon called many things, but socialist isn’t one of them!

  7. Andy S. said

    A friend of mine forwarded me the following link from the NY Times which discusses a possible return to intellectualism:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/09/opinion/09kristof.html?_r=1&em&oref=slogin

    The column is entitled, “Obama and the War on Brains”

  8. dystressed said

    Thanks Andy S for the link. It was a great article.

  9. Andy S. said

    No problem Dystressed.

    The Times has had some great stories and editorials lately.

    Another one I saw on their website was the brewing controversy over a minority religions right to display its version of a “ten commandments” style monument in a public park in Utah:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/11/washington/11sect.html?_r=1&em&oref=slogin

    I am very interested in seeing what the court’s ruling will be pertaining to this case.

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