An incredible list of signees have joined in to support ScienceDebate 2008.
So what is this all about?
Its a movement to get the presidential candidates to have a debate centering around the Environment, Health and Medicine, and Science and Technology Policy.
As we know, science is at the forefront of our lives not only in technology and medical care, but now the growing concern for the health of our planet deserves this type of attention. I hope everyone can add their name to those agreeing to this initiative. I'll give you a few examples of those supporting this initiative.
Nobel laureates: Peter Agre, David Baltimore, Eugene Butcher, Val Fitch, Wolfgang Ketterle, David Politzer.
Institutions: Cal Poly, Duke, Columbia, Stanford
February 1, 2008
An incredible list of signees have joined in to support ScienceDebate 2008.
and Hellboy (ugh) has agreed to direct the new Hobbit movies for Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema. This is an awesome development if you're a fan of either Pan's Labyrinth or the Lord of the Rings Series. Should be a pretty good epic movie.
January 31, 2008
Everyone has seen the Seinfeld episode where George double dips his chip at a party. Probably a pretty common faux-paus around house parties, especially with the Super Bowl coming up. This recent NY Times article describes some new research (who's manuscript has yet to be published)concerning just how many bacteria are transferred by a "double dip". Here is the poster the NYT took for their article.
Without the research being published yet its hard to examine the procedures and get a true feeling for what the numbers mean but here are a few of my guesses: 1. even though the number of bacteria and other foreign bodies being transferred are relatively high, most of them will be normal floral origin within the mouth and buccal area; 2. Of the intrinsic bacteria found most, causing problems to a recipient most likely originate in the gut; 3. The common viruses may be the realistic threat of transmission as it takes relative very few particles to constitute an infection, these include the rhinoviruses and coronavirsuses, but could also inlcude viruses which cause much more serious illness including adenoviruses, paramyxoviruses, and enteroviruses.
Here's the full article by Mike Dunford accompanying this image
A great response to the previous article was posted up on Pharyngula, I figure I'd transcribe it here as they guy makes some pretty slicing an observant statements.
"The more I read quotes like that, the more I become convinced of my developing hypothesis that its not evolution that's the problem, but change. I mean, think about it:
They reject the notion that the earth, and the life that lives on it, has radically changed over millenia, in favor of the notion that since its creation the earth, and the life on it, has been relatively constant in form and function.
They consider it a failing of science that when confronted by evidence scientists will change what they consider the "truth", as compared to the superior "truth" of the never-changing Bible (or other revealed religious work). They also reject any evidence that the Bible has changed.
Politically, they held it against John Kerry that he changed his opinion on issues after gaining more evidence, while they are (or were) proud of W's insistence of sticking to a decision or opinion once made even in the face of evidence to the contrary.
As such, an appeal along the lines of "Scientists don't know what they are doing because they 'discovered' Pluto isn't a planet and changed their collective minds." works because, to them and their audience, Change Is Bad. Admitting error is bad. They don't make mistakes, or at least the folks they listen to don't. d/dt (mind) = 0.
As opposed to folks on this side of the debate, the more highly trained of which observe change, quantify error, embrace the notion that Science isn't revelation, but conversation. We understand that Principia Mathematica, On The Origin of Species, and Über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristischen Gesichtspunkt are not handed down from on high, absolute truth not to be questioned, but rather are brilliant insights by people -- humans, with flaws and errors of their own -- who saw what others saw and put it together differently than anyone else did at the time. Their work is added to the conversation and built upon by others as time goes by.
We embrace change; they fear it. We don't understand how they can think that way; they don't understand how we can think this way. I think I'm onto something here."
If you haven't gotten a chance, go ahead and read this account of evolution and its shortcomings by a group in Florida trying to show opposition towards science. Last year they tried to get ID on the ballot for inclusion into the curriculum and were shut down. But even though they lost, the fight isn't over as the zealots continue to battle what is a large and overwhelming collection of facts.
I'm going to do a little breakdown of this article to show most of the false statements and red herring journalism that is used to make their argument appeal to the public.
My favorite line may be the first where Eva bemoans the controversy over Florida curriculum while previous to the religious right's crossover into the scientific realm there was none. So like most conservative power tripping right winger she doesn't see the obvious fallacy that this controversy didn't arise until the close-minded circle of America came down upon what is a free standing institution and tried to impose its will.
"They believe that millions of years ago there was nothing and then suddenly there was something. They have no proof. It's not replicable. It's clearly a belief," Kemple said. "Which is why the only explanation of the origin of life is that out of nothingness a willing creator believed all beings into existence within 6 days. I just don't understand the notion that putting a diety behind an unexplained mechanism of nature explains away the unknown. One of the biggest (and I'm sure most of you screamed at the top of your lungs when you saw this) problems with the previous quote is that evolution is not a mechanism to describe the Origin of Life but to describe the Origin of Species and detail the mechanisms by which life generated millions of fully distinct but ultimately related branches on the tree of life.
The kicker of the article for me is where their science expert, a retired middle school science teacher, expounds upon the differing opinions of evolution within science.
"...quoted from a number of well-educated people who disagree with the theory of evolution. Drawing from philosopher Karl Popper, astronomer Fred Hoyle, law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson and quantum physicist Paul Davies, Brown discussed ideas promoted by these men that argue against evolution and/or develop the idea of Intelligent Design."My father has to have a heart valve replacement operation at the end of the month and I'm going to assemble his team to work on him. I can either have a; A) 1 cardiothoracic surgeon, 3 RNs, 1 general internist surgeon, and an attending chief of surgery, or I could go with option B) evolutionary biologist, physicist, nutritionist, biochemist. All equally skilled within the field of science, but unfortunately team B can offer little in the way of expertise when it comes to slicing a person's chest open. Physics, astronomy, and other science disciplines are just not qualified to speak on the mechanisms and effects of evolution. And you notice the only person with an actual biology degree referenced is as much of an expert in evolution as the fast food drive-thru guy is an expert in meat production.
Kinda long winded for a first post, but hopefully many to come and watch out Florida, the crazy are coming for you!