Friday, August 26, 2011


Today's poll shows that Rick Perry is the leading candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination.  Perry is among a host of 'leaders' such as Bachmann, Huckabee, Palin, etc., who are anti-science, anti-intellectual. As Erwin Chargaff once quipped - "That in our day, pygmies cast such giant shadows only shows how late in the day it has become."  It's disturbing to imagine such folks overseeing science in this country.


Bizzy Brain said...

LOL! The left always used to call Ronald Reagan stupid, too! They can't argue or debate their worthless, unworkable ideology with their opponents, so resort to name calling, which is pretty infantile, and, well, stupid.

Dr S said...

Hey Buzzy - not too many folks are calling Perry stupid! Evolution, chemistry and astronomy are not ideologies. Perry is smart like a fox, and call me cynical, but he is catering to the lowest common denominator to get elected. He knows that nearly half of adult Americans believe that the earth was created as is about 10,000 years ago, so why not dispute the overwhelming science when you know that doing so will get you on the inside track with millions of voters - many of whom are indeed stupid :-)

Bizzy Brain said...

First thought that comes to mind is the "science" of man-made global warming. That is one of the biggest frauds ever perpetrated on the human race. Great way to become a millionaire, however. Get the grant money and find in favor of man-made warming. THAT is leftist ideologue science for you. How much other "science" is thusly tainted with leftist ideology? Evolution perhaps?

Dr S said...

Bizzy - you have to help me out here - I have a hard time getting my head around this type of logic. I will certainly agree that there is still a lot of unknowns regarding the contribution of human activities to climate change. The climate did a pretty good job of global warming and global cooling long before humans were ever on the scene. However, I will assume that you will agree that global warming is underway, regardless of how much is related to humans.
What I cannot see is how this is a left-wing, liberal ideology. If the captains of industry running the coal, oil and gas megacorps are squeezed, won't the captains of industry of solar, wind and geothermal take their place? Capitalism will continue sans carbon based energy with all of it's attendant environmental and health issues.
And how in the world can any scientist become a millionaire by studying global warming? Scientists write grants, and if they are funded, they are paid a typical university wage [significantly below millionaire wages], and the employ undergraduates, graduate students and post-docs to help carry out the research. The only scientists that get rich from their science are those who leave the world of grants and start or join a company - like good business entrepreneurs.
Leftist ideology in evolution research? Nonsense. Evolution is a scientific reality, and the ideologies come in to play when the spectrum of folks from atheists to hyper-conservative Christians superimpose their views on the science. Science is both non-ideological and agnostic - unfortunately the users of science are not.
And biggest fraud ever perpetrated? Pretty strong claim. I can think of quite a few others that I would put above this one - like the fraud that lead to the invasion of Iraq and the ensuing deaths of over 100,000 Iraqis.

Bizzy Brain said...

Well, Doc, will try to help you out, but first, recalibrate your bs meter. My point was that weather and climate have become politicized. I don’t believe the planet is warming.

I do have a novel idea that would probably get me laughed off the floor at a green science convention. I support the hypothesis that the sun is instrumental in global warming and cooling, and that there is a correlation between sunspot activity and temperatures on earth.

Re: left wing liberal ideology. With the collapse of world-wide communism, collectivism has found it’s new home in the green movement. The steady drumbeat is global warming and how it’s going to kill us all. So, “Act now, before it’s too late! Impose government control on all manufacturing, mining, and energy production. That’s the only effective way to control and regulate the CO2 emissions that are going to destroy the planet!” In other words, communism is the answer, and necessary to save the planet.

Regarding scientists becoming millionaires, I believe I could if I were a scientist. If I secure a large research grant that brings a ton of money and prestige to my employer, would I not in some way be rewarded beyond my existing salary? Like in the form of a large raise or bonus? Or perhaps I would be given the opportunity for some lucrative “consulting” work on the side? I am reminded of a grant that then Senator Obama got for a hospital in Chicago. In return, Michelle Obama was given a $300K+ a year do nothing job at that same hospital. When Michelle left that job, the position was eliminated.

I believe evolution in the sense of one distinct species evolving into another distinct species is more religion than science. And no scientist anywhere has the slightest scientific inkling of how we got from rocks to the simplest of simple one-celled organism. However, Darwin is someone the merry horndogs of ye ole England certainly admired. In their eyes, evolution meant creation was a myth, along with the God behind it. With the fear of God gone, they could indulge in carnal pleasures to their heart’s content and no longer fear divine retribution. (That last may sound silly, but I did read it somewhere as one of the offshoots when the theory was first published.)

Ain’t it fun?

Dr S said...

Oh my BB - where to begin :-) First, you need to understand a bit about science faculty at universities and national labs where most research takes place. Such places are generally ethical and egalitarian, and thus it does not make much difference if you have $10,000 in grants or $10,000,000 - your salary will be pretty much the same. There is no such thing as bonuses or big raises related to grants - the main perqs would be funding for travel to conferences and lessened teaching load. As far as consulting, university legal offices have very rigorous disclosure requirements as well as conflict of interest restraints, so a professor cannot make a killing on consulting in the same area of his/her sponsored research. Now, if you were a scientist at a private lab, you would have the same constraints if your funding was public, but if it was private, you could indeed enrich yourself.

Second - if you do not believe that the climate is changing and that earth is overall getting warmer, then you are beyond hope. Don't cherry pick data from one year [I believe you understand the concept of trends], or from one area [indeed some places are cooler] and thus you should look at the data for the past 10 years or the past 100 years. A good place for you to start would be with scientists at NOAA and NASA I am not going to argue that climate change is anthropomorphic because there are many natural factors that affect the climate - but it seems likely that there is some contribution made by the burning of 'fossil' fuels.

Your statement about evolution being more religion than science sounds like you are quoting old Hambo. The study of evolution is hard-core science, and despite Ken's perspectives, religious dogma must be consistent with the findings of science, not vice versa.

Finally - there are no data that I am aware of that demonstrate that atheists are any more wanton and amoral that the religious folks. Jimmy Swaggert, the Newt, Ted Haggard, ad infinitum come to mind :-) Don't think that it is the atheists who blow up federal buildings, kill abortion doctors, have polygamist cults, etc....

Bizzed Out Brain said...

Since I am not a scientist, your comments are more reliable than mine. I come from an auditing background and have seen how the books get cooked in non-profit and for profit companies that do business with the state. Based on the fact that jillions are poured into climate research, my natural assumption is that many are getting a personal windfall.

NOAA and NASA are the LAST places to look concerning climate change data. I thought they had already been discredited due to bogus data.

To flat out state that evolution is a scientific reality falls on deaf ears to us Hambos. I don't think that much is ever truly known, except that 2 plus 2 equal 4. I agree with what Nobel prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman,in his book The Meaning of it All, has to say. "It is necessary and true that all of the things we say in science, all of the conclusions, are uncertain, because they are only conclusions. They are guesses as to what is going to happen, and you cannot know what will happen, because you have not made the most complete experiments. . . .”

“Scientists, therefore, are used to dealing with doubt and uncertainty. All scientific knowledge is uncertain. This experience with doubt and uncertainty is important. I believe that it is of very great value, and one that extends beyond the sciences. I believe that to solve any problem that has never been solved before, you have to leave the door to the unknown ajar. You have to permit the possibility that you do not have it exactly right. Otherwise, if you have made up your mind already, you might not solve it.

“So what we call scientific knowledge today is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty. Some of them are most unsure; some of them are nearly sure; but none is absolutely certain. Scientists are used to this. We know that it is consistent to be able to live and not know. Some people say, ’How can you live without knowing?’ I do not know what they mean. I always live without knowing.”

What I take away from the above is that "all scientific knowledge is uncertain."

Interesting and accurate observation of religious folks. My take is that the vast majority of religious folks, like the blower uppers of trade center towers, and killers of abortion doctors, etc., will spend eternity separated from the God of the Bible. There are two kinds of peoples in the world, those who believe in, worship, obey, and serve the God of the Bible and those who don't. And it is usually fairly easy to discern which side people are on.

Phil L. said...

Hey, Biz, have you ever had an original thought? Or does Ken Ham and Rush Limbaugh do all your thinking for you?

hoosierdaddy said...

Phil L. - ZING! :-) Also - BB - there were no bogus data and the scientists accused of misleading statements were exonerated.

Bizzy Brain said...

Hardy har har, Phil. Say, did you ever pass 5th grade English? It's supposed to be "DO Ken Ham and Rush Limbaugh..."