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Old 01-08-2013, 06:06 PM  
donkhater donkhater is offline
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Good perspective on the future of Science

http://www.nature.com/news/science-m...divide-1.12119

Science must be seen to bridge the political divide

To prevent science from continuing its worrying slide towards politicization, here’s a New Year’s resolution for scientists, especially in the United States: gain the confidence of people and politicians across the political spectrum by demonstrating that science is bipartisan.

That President Barack Obama chose to mention “technology, discovery and innovation” in his passionate victory speech in November shows just how strongly science has come, over the past decade or so, to be a part of the identity of one political party, the Democrats, in the United States. The highest-profile voices in the scientific community have avidly pursued this embrace. For the third presidential election in a row, dozens of Nobel prizewinners in physics, chemistry and medicine signed a letter endorsing the Democratic candidate.

The 2012 letter argued that Obama would ensure progress on the economy, health and the environment by continuing “America’s proud legacy of discovery and invention”, and that his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, would “devastate a long tradition of support for public research and investment in science”. The signatories wrote “as winners of the Nobel Prizes in Science”, thus cleansing their endorsement of the taint of partisanship by invoking their authority as pre-eminent scientists.

But even Nobel prizewinners are citizens with political preferences. Of the 43 (out of 68) signatories on record as having made past political donations, only five had ever contributed to a Republican candidate, and none did so in the last election cycle. If the laureates are speaking on behalf of science, then science is revealing itself, like the unions, the civil service, environmentalists and tort lawyers, to be a Democratic interest, not a democratic one.

This is dangerous for science and for the nation. The claim that Republicans are anti-science is a staple of Democratic political rhetoric, but bipartisan support among politicians for national investment in science, especially basic research, is still strong. For more than 40 years, US government science spending has commanded a remarkably stable 10% of the annual expenditure for non-defence discretionary programmes. In good economic times, science budgets have gone up; in bad times, they have gone down. There have been more good times than bad, and science has prospered.

In the current period of dire fiscal stress, one way to undermine this stable funding and bipartisan support would be to convince Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, that science is a Democratic special interest.

This concern rests on clear precedent. Conservatives in the US government have long been hostile to social science, which they believe tilts towards liberal political agendas. Consequently, the social sciences have remained poorly funded and politically vulnerable, and every so often Republicans threaten to eliminate the entire National Science Foundation budget for social science.

“Politicians would find it more difficult to attack science endorsed by bipartisan groups of scientists.”

As scientists seek to provide policy-relevant knowledge on complex, interdisciplinary problems ranging from fisheries depletion and carbon emissions to obesity and natural hazards, the boundary between the natural and the social sciences has blurred more than many scientists want to acknowledge. With Republicans generally sceptical of government’s ability and authority to direct social and economic change, the enthusiasm with which leading scientists align themselves with the Democratic party can only reinforce conservative suspicions that for contentious issues such as climate change, natural-resource management and policies around reproduction, all science is social science.

The US scientific community must decide if it wants to be a Democratic interest group or if it wants to reassert its value as an independent national asset. If scientists want to claim that their recommendations are independent of their political beliefs, they ought to be able to show that those recommendations have the support of scientists with conflicting beliefs. Expert panels advising the government on politically divisive issues could strengthen their authority by demonstrating political diversity. The National Academies, as well as many government agencies, already try to balance representation from the academic, non-governmental and private sectors on many science advisory panels; it would be only a small step to be equally explicit about ideological or political diversity. Such information could be given voluntarily.

To connect scientific advice to bipartisanship would benefit political debate. Volatile issues, such as the regulation of environmental and public-health risks, often lead to accusations of ‘junk science’ from opposing sides. Politicians would find it more difficult to attack science endorsed by avowedly bipartisan groups of scientists, and more difficult to justify their policy preferences by scientific claims that were contradicted by bipartisan panels.

During the cold war, scientists from America and the Soviet Union developed lines of communication to improve the prospects for peace. Given the bitter ideological divisions in the United States today, scientists could reach across the political divide once again and set an example for all.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:42 PM   #61
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If you want to call a doctor's work to cure a disease a miracle of God you are free to do that. However, one does not need to invoke God in order to cure the patient. It is the realm of science.
What about those who claim to have been healed through faith? Such as places like Lourdes where all those crutches and wheelchairs are left hanging up? Sure, I know what you're going to say next, it's mind over matter. But no one knows the exact mechanism for sure as to how the mind can do that. While we're at it, how come Bernadette's body never decomposed?
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:42 PM   #62
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It is playing God to say when or when not a fetus is considered a life? There mere fact the term "fetus" is used in political discussions shows how arrogant some can be about life. No one walks up to a pregnant woman and says "how is the fetus coming along?" It's a baby until it's time to justify it's pre-birth termination, then suddenly it's reduced to a fetus. That is playing God.
Two points:

"fetus" is just scientific language. It is more specific and exact than the more common term "baby". If you broke your arm I'd ask you how your arm is. If instead I asked you how your ulna was healing I wouldn't be making any value statement by calling it by its scientific name, although it would be damn weird. Same with calling a baby a fetus to the face of happily expectant mom.

Two it is not playing God to make a value judgement regarding the value of human life. One could be an atheist and still use philosophical and ethics to argue that terminating the fetus would be wrong. That decision can be informed by ones religious beliefs but it is not at all strictly a matter in the religious realm.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:46 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by cdcox View Post
Two points:

"fetus" is just scientific language. It is more specific and exact than the more common term "baby". If you broke your arm I'd ask you how your arm is. If instead I asked you how your ulna was healing I wouldn't be making any value statement by calling it by its scientific name, although it would be damn weird. Same with calling a baby a fetus to the face of happily expectant mom.

Two it is not playing God to make a value judgement regarding the value of human life. One could be an atheist and still use philosophical and ethics to argue that terminating the fetus would be wrong. That decision can be informed by ones religious beliefs but it is not at all strictly a matter in the religious realm.
One can be an atheist all day and still not disprove the fact that there would be no life without said fetus. The value you place on either is up to you based on whatever you believe. Scientifically speaking though, your argument is bunk.

Secondly when I said people refer to unborns as a fetus I was referring to a psychologically scientific observation based on proven theories that when we as humans tend to defend the intentional termination of another life we often refer to the being as something other than a life, e.g. fetus, criminal, animal, etc. This makes one feet better about justifying the taking of a life.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:49 PM   #64
cosmo20002 cosmo20002 is offline
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Hi, have you met Nancy Pelosi????
No, have you? I bet she believes in evolution.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:49 PM   #65
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One can be an atheist all day and still not disprove the fact that there would be no life without said fetus. The value you place on either is up to you based on whatever you believe. Scientifically speaking though, your argument is bunk.

Secondly when I said people refer to unborns as a fetus was a psychologically scientific observation based on proven theories that when we as humans tend to defend the intentional termination of another life we often refer to the being as something other than a life, e.g. fetus, criminal, animal, etc. This makes one feet better about justifying the taking of a life.
I agree. The whole idea is to deny it any humanity. Yet, it still is human.

We already know that taking the life of another human is wrong, except in self-defense ( includes the mother's life) and this is universally considered as wrong. Who needs to debate that? Yet, we do on this issue. This is what was done to the Jews. They were no better than flies.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:51 PM   #66
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I need not your primer nor your infintile opinions of science.
Seriously, you obviously do. If you think "scientific theory" has no different meaning than the generic use of "theory" you need it. Here's where the "wilfully ignorant" thing kicks in. Just ****ing read it.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:51 PM   #67
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No, have you? I bet she believes in evolution.
Beign the good little catholic girl that she is and all....
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:52 PM   #68
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Seriously, you obviously do. If you think "scientific theory" has no different meaning than the generic use of "theory" you need it. Here's where the "wilfully ignorant" thing kicks in. Just ****ing read it.
I'll let you read it
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:55 PM   #69
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Beign the good little catholic girl that she is and all....
The Catholic Church has no beef with evolution. That alone should tell you how nuts one must be to still deny it. These are the same people that took 300 years or so to apologize to Galileo. Yeah, even THOSE people say evolution is ok.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:56 PM   #70
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I'll let you read it
I have. You're wilfully ignorant and proud of it--pathetic.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:57 PM   #71
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What about those who claim to have been healed through faith? Such as places like Lourdes where all those crutches and wheelchairs are left hanging up? Sure, I know what you're going to say next, it's mind over matter. But no one knows the exact mechanism for sure as to how the mind can do that.
There are worms spilled all over the place here. I will focus my answer on your last point.

The idea that the mind is able to overcome a true physical ailment is a viable scientific hypothesis. It can be investigated because the mind is a natural thing that obeys the laws of physics and could be scientifically studied using observation. The inability of science to offer a satisfactory explanation at this moment does not remove this idea from being a valid area of scientific inquiry.

The idea that the healing was caused by God according to his will is not a viable scientific hypothesis since it cannot be investigated because humans cannot access the will of God and an assumption from the beginning is that God doesn't have to follow the laws of physics.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:57 PM   #72
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The Catholic Church has no beef with evolution. That alone should tell you how nuts one must be to still deny it. These are the same people that took 300 years or so to apologize to Galileo. Yeah, even THOSE people say evolution is ok.


dude you are wound so ****ing tight it's hillarious
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:57 PM   #73
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No, have you? I bet she believes in evolution.
She's a Catholic. The Catholic Church made its peace with evolution long ago. It's just a NOT big deal to most Catholics.

However, she claims her faith leads her to support gay marriage:

"My religion has, compels me--and I love it for it--to be against discrimination of any kind in our country, and I consider this a form of discrimination. I think it’s unconstitutional on top of that. "
She's wrong about the last line though. It falls under the Tenth Amendment meaning it belongs with the states.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:58 PM   #74
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I have. You're wilfully ignorant and proud of it--pathetic.
Deep.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:59 PM   #75
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There are worms spilled all over the place here. I will focus my answer on your last point.

The idea that the mind is able to overcome a true physical ailment is a viable scientific hypothesis. It can be investigated because the mind is a natural thing that obeys the laws of physics and could be scientifically studied using observation. The inability of science to offer a satisfactory explanation at this moment does not remove this idea from being a valid area of scientific inquiry.

The idea that the healing was caused by God according to his will is not a viable scientific hypothesis since it cannot be investigated because humans cannot access the will of God and an assumption from the beginning is that God doesn't have to follow the laws of physics.
the laws of physics? It's too late to get into this but um, yeah, we know dick about the laws of physics. Just saying.
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