'Science' Archive

Climate S.O.S.

February 16th, 2006 / Science / 8 comments

Jim Hansen, NASA climate scientist, is saying we don't have much time to cut carbon emissions. We're not talking some abstract warming scenario, but SEVERE COASTAL INUNDATION WORLDWIDE. Headlined ...

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

February 2nd, 2006 / Current Affairs, Energy Transition, Science / Comments Off on Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

OK George W. Bush, you've said something that I've been calling for for the past 5 years. You want to cut oil ...

Science and Religion not Equivalent

January 26th, 2006 / Religion, Science / 7 comments

Here is some visual evidence about the difference between faith and science. This is an electron micrograph of 3 different forms of HIV. Scientists are studying the form of the virus to look for new ways to defeat it. They may still be a ways off from a cure, but they are working. You can bet they are working their asses off. I guarantee you there are grad students, researchers and others working 90 hour weeks to solve this problem. You can look at this as true humanitarianism. What are churches doing about this issue? The same thing they've been doing since the 1980s when HIV first surfaced: Blaming the victims. Interfering with condom distribution worldwide. Marching and holding up signs that say "God Hates Fags." That's what religions are doing. And when a cure is found, and billions of people worldwide are celebrating their newfound freedom to express their sexuality without fear, you can bet the churches will still be there. Grumbling, moralizing. I will be rejoicing when this cure is found. Because it turns out HIV has been killing people for centuries. But that's not the only reason. When the cure for HIV is found, it will be one more nail in the coffin of the stale, ridiculous argument that bleats like an old broken record: "Science is just another belief system." [UPDATE 02.12.06 - from the Pew center: There has been a reduction in the number of people in the last 20 years who think HIV is god's punishment, but it still remains ridiculously high:A similar pattern is evident in changing public attitudes on whether AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral sexual behavior. A generation ago, the public was closely divided on this issue: in 1987, 43% felt AIDS was a punishment from God while 47% disagreed. Now by nearly three-to-one (70%-24%), Americans reject that idea. White evangelical Protestants (42%) and black Protestants (36%) are more likely to feel that AIDS is God's punishment than are white mainline Protestants (20%), white Catholics (18%) and the non-religious (14%). Still, moralistic interpretations of the AIDS disease have dropped among all groups about equally. http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?PageID=757](Lest you think I've created a straw man with regard to attitudes about science as just another belief system, check the links below the fold:)

Privacy Follies

December 9th, 2005 / Current Affairs, Science / 10 comments

A recent article in the New York Times frets about government use of cell-tracking data. This highlights a strong paradox in the growing privacy debate: With a benign government, no ...

You are not your face

December 8th, 2005 / Science / 2 comments

"Ethical" concerns seem to be sweeping the press and some sectors of the scientific world regarding the recent "face transplant" in France. People are concerned about many things: the identity confusion of a person having someone else's face whether the use of stem-cells should have been undertaken at the same time the mental health of the patient whether something less radical could have been done whether or not the patient should receive money for photographs Some perspective is needed: First, we should be celebrating the fact that medicine has advanced to the point where such an operation is possible. Second, we should be most concerned whether the procedure works, and whether the patient can tolerate the foreign tissue long-term. That answer won't be known for months. Let's hope she makes a full recovery.