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Posts Tagged ‘Newsweek’

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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Posted in Politics, Science | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Newsweek Science Article Discusses the Biology of Belief

Posted by dystressed on November 2, 2008

There’s something to be said for the workhorse journalistic methods of print media. This in-depth article fascinated me because it really puts the science in very accessible terms, which is something that the masses need. I try to read Pharyngula and other science blogs, but there is only so much I can take before I just sort of give up.

The Newsweek story had me wanting more, which I think is really good for readers on the cusp of skepticism and rationality. It’s not perfect, of course and there are some things I don’t understand, particularly why a doctor would believe in reincarnation.

Posted in Science | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Why Ranting Matters

Posted by mikebftw on September 21, 2008

I like a good rant occasionally.

I mean, nobody likes a blowhard, but it is possible to engage in a lucid, rational, well-constructed argument that, due to its length or forcefulness, can only be categorized as a rant.  Actually, when the two combine perfectly, a rant can become an absolute masterpiece – a thing of beauty.

In fact, I find there are very few conversational sins worse than when one party composes such an argument, and a troglodyte within earshot feels the need to respond with something profound like, “Gee, tell us how you REALLY feel!”  No counter argument, no follow up questions.  Just pure kindergarten reaction.

For a long time, I had trouble accurately describing the contempt these people provoked in me.  Now, I simply borrow a line from comedian Jim Norton – It makes me want to bite their f***ing faces.  It’s such a visceral level of disgust that I can think of no better reaction than to want to bite them across the bridge of their nose. Disturbing, I know, but it’s the best description I can come up with.

There is a point to my post, besides uncovering my apparently antisocial tendencies.  You see, Sam Harris recently constructed an argument against Sarah Palin for Newsweek magazine.  It is a clear assessment of the anti-intellectualism that dominates our political landscape – forceful and relatively lengthy (for a web article), to be sure, but still fair and well constructed.

So, what did a genius editor at Newsweek decide to call this piece?

“When Atheists Attack.”

I guess “Gee, Sam Harris, Tell Us How You REALLY Feel!” wasn’t available.

(Note – Having read a great deal of Sam Harris’ published work, I am forced to assume that there is no way he came up with this title.  In the rare event that he did, you can pretty much ignore this entire post.)

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »