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View Diary: Book Review: Unscientific America (351 comments)

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  •  NOMA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde, Mercuriousss

    Like I said I haven't read this book.  But I have heard you speak about your ideas about 'framing science' and I don't think it's a good way to go.  

    Do you think that the catholic church certifying miracles is consistent with our scientific understanding of the universe?  My suspicion is that you don't but that you realize it's politically dangerous to say so out loud.  You didn't respond to that part of my post above and I wonder why not.  If
    there really is no conflict between science and religion, if Stephen Jay Gould was right and the "New Atheists" are such goons for being more bold about things, please help me understand where I'm going wrong in thinking that the vatican and science are not actually in step?  

    I think the real problem is that scientists are not lawyers, politicians and PR reps.  It's anathema to the scientific process to go on a marketing campaign.  You think that's suicide, I think it's being genuine.  

    •  NOMA (4+ / 0-)

      I strenuously request that you read the book, as it has been much misrepresented. For instance:

      We do not make a NOMA argument.

      I am not making 'framing' arguments.

      The Vatican and science are in step in many ways...for example, the Vatican's embrace of evolution. Certifying miracles? Well, obviously, you and I don't believe they really happened. But do you want to fight over them? I'd much rather fight the church on something like contraception....

      •  choosing battles (5+ / 0-)

        I'm not so sure that fighting over whether miracles really happened is not a battle worth pursuing.  Sure it would be ugly and turn many people off.  It's certainly not the best marketing strategy.  However, brushing those uncomfortable disagreements aside contributes to the perpetuation of magical, unscientific thinking.  

        Yes the vatican is in step with science on some things.  But you can rank religions on their ability to accept scientific findings.  Fundamentalist Christianity would be very low on the list, catholicism somewhere higher, and the Dalai Lama's version of Buddhism highest of all as far as I can tell.  In fact I heard him say that if science could ever disprove reincarnation then buddhism would have to evolve with that new truth.  Here he cedes primacy to science as the best way to reveal nature.  Can you imagine the pope ever saying something similar, e.g. if science could ever disprove Jesus' rise from the dead . . .

        Fine it's not nice to say these things and I'm not marketing savvy.  It's just not my way.  It's probably a good thing that this movement is multi-faceted.  

    •  It doesn't work (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eryk, kaolin, Neon Vincent

      Having worked on the Hill and observed firsthand how the process works in terms of funding and policy decisions, there's no question that scientists are not making our case strong enough where it matters.  The problem is two fold because the anti-science movement--including the climate-change deniers,the anti-vaccination people, and worse--are unified in messages, articulate, and organized.  Science policy is paramount and unless more practitioners learn how to get their messages to resonate beyond academia, we will lose.

      •  agreed (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Doc Sarvis, sabishi, dpryan, Mercuriousss

        Pointing out that the vatican's belief in miracles doesn't agree with the findings of modern science doesn't work as you say.  That doesn't mean it's not true.  You are interested in making science sound on capitol hill and in mainstream America.  As a scientist my main interest is in seeking the truth about our universe as far as science can tell.  

        My way hurts your efforts on capitol hill perhaps.  I acknowledge that.  Your way hurts a full acceptance of science and the effort to attain it's rightful place as the best, albeit flawed, method that humans have devised to reveal our universe.  I say that because by not challenging the magical thinking represented by belief in miracles, such superstition persists.  And most people in America believe that faith is more important than doubt.  Science is exactly inverted from that notion.  If we don't acknowledge that, then we're not really being honest.  Pragmatic and politically savvy yes, but not honest.  

      •  I note that in your list of "antiscience movement (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rieux, fayevski

        you omit any religious objectors, whereas, in reality, the most significant anti-science movements in the US are now and have always been, historically, faith-based.

        If one does not accept that evidence leads to conclusions, and instead believe that dogma preceeds, overrides, and exists independent of evidence, than how can science policy every become paramount?

        This is the fundamental problem with what seems to be your line of argumentation; it is misdirected. It isn't scientists or skeptics or atheist who are to blame for the state of scientific literacy and support in America - it is religious organizations and individuals.

        The US is anomalous, in close correlation, in both its levels of religiosity and its levels of scientific illiteracy and hostility towards science.

        Do you really suggest that the two are unrelated - that the real problem is that scientists are not nice to  the Vatican?

        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

        by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 01:28:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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