Saturday, February 15, 2014

The War on Science... continued

This piece from Juan Cole offers a chance to follow-up on my previous post (Being Gray, In a Black or White World)

The GOP's War on Science Endangering America: Climate Change, Evolution, Regulation
"The Republican Party is increasingly emerging as an anti-science party. Since American greatness was built on its science and technology (and not on the odd cult of biblical inerrancy), this development is a danger to the republic, and, indeed, to the world. The US used to be about solving problems, about a can-do spirit, not about denying concrete reality."
First, Cole is absolutely correct - the GOP, and their billionaire backers, are playing a very scary game because of their denial of reality.  But, in the last post, I made the argument that we should welcome skepticism in our own lives, admit when we don't have all the answers, be willing to say, "we just don't know".  Isn't that exactly what the GOP are doing?  Asking sometimes logical, reasonable questions about things like climate change, evolution, and regulation? They are, but not for the reason of solving serious problems and not in pursuit of answers.  Criticism and skepticism are not leadership. My inclination is that they raise these points not to move the conversation forward, but to score political points and pull strings.

There is a similar relationship on the issues of diet or supplements that I raised in the original post. Where are the issues being raised as a matter of moving the conversation forward, and where are they being raised as a point of stiffing conversation?  Are you questioning because you know what others should do, or because you hope others ask questions and learn more, because you too need to learn more and the research isn't clear?

Two more recent post that have garnered LOTS of comments at various places, are worth a read, be sure to browse the comments -

Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience 
 When it comes to vaccines, science can run into a brick wall

And a couple of other links about spotting "bad science":
TEDx - A letter to the TEDx community
Spotting Bad Science

It seems the way this stuff works, I may just keep adding to this list - here's the latest related item traveling around the internet, again, check out the comments - note the true believers versus truth seekers (sounds cheesy, but I couldn't think of a better phrase):
High Protein Diets Make Look Good, Kill You
The Risk of High Protein Diets

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