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Scientists and science aficianados - where are you?
Posted: 29 June 2005 04:38 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I don't get to visit as often as I like but when I do I'm amazed at the lack of activity in this subject.  I would have thought Sam's book would have generated a fair amount of discussion along several different lines.  Admittedly there have been a few starts at things like teaching evolution or the psychology of religious beliefs, but the noise always seems to drown out the signal.  Where are the scientists and science advocates who would carry on these conversations?  Where is the interest in science?  My friend, some of you may recall, who went by gman, got discouraged and has largely left off discussions here because there didn't seem to be a critical mass of science-minded folks talking.  I'm just curious if there really aren't many of you out there.  Everyone who isn't here, please raise your hand! :shock:

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Posted: 29 June 2005 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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There are a few of us here.  Unfortunately, the science threads tend to get political, which is unfortunate.

Keep an eye out, though, because there are certainly more good discussions brewing.

-Matt

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Posted: 30 June 2005 03:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Science gets politicized in the real world too, so it’s not a bad thing that these science threads get infected with reality every now and then.

Scientists need to understand how to conduct and win non-scientific arguments, or arguments about science with non-scientists. It is tempting to walk away and just write off the opponent as stupid, but that doesn’t change the situation much.

Let me give an example. In South Africa, a country with a massive AIDS problem, the Minister for Health, who is a qualified medical doctor, consistently denies the existence of the HI virus and the fact that HIV caused AIDS. She argues that scare stories about AIDS are driven by western prejudice against black people and the stereotypical white view of the promiscuous black man.  She recommends that people with ‘AIDS-like’ symptoms be given a diet rich in garlic and beetroot.

So, here we have an AIDS-denialist responsible for health policy in the country with the most AIDS-infected people anywhere in the world. She has been health minister for over 4 years. Is the scientific lobby camped out side her door waiting to charge her with a crime against humanity? No, the scientific community sits meekly in its ivory tower and does not intervene. She’s stupid and wrong, and we can prove it, so that’s the intellectual problem solved.

We need these scientists to take a more public stance, to be political.

Just curious, is anyone in the US aware of the extent of AIDS-denial going on in other parts of the world?

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Posted: 30 June 2005 06:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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[quote author=“Nietzsche”] She’s stupid and wrong…

We need these scientists to take a more public stance, to be political.

Just curious, is anyone in the US aware of the extent of AIDS-denial going on in other parts of the world?

AIDS-denial is not rampant in the states, but the link between HIV and AIDS is controversial in many circles. A notable heavyweight here is Noble Prize winner, Kary Mullis who invented the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method. Kary may be wrong, but he is not stupid and he is political. I am not convinced by Mullins’ claims, but it is hard to dismiss his credentials.

Perhaps we could start a thread to discuss this topic.

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Posted: 30 June 2005 05:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Well Ed. The below is why this thread is poorly populated.  This has to be one of the stupidest sentiments I’ve heard. Especially since there is a political topic that could be used.  Basically I won’t even attempt to point out the fallacy in this statement.

[quote author=“Nietzsche”]Science gets politicized in the real world too, so it’s not a bad thing that these science threads get infected with reality every now and then.

Scientists need to understand how to conduct and win non-scientific arguments, or arguments about science with non-scientists. It is tempting to walk away and just write off the opponent as stupid, but that doesn’t change the situation much.

Let me give an example. In South Africa, a country with a massive AIDS problem, the Minister for Health, who is a qualified medical doctor, consistently denies the existence of the HI virus and the fact that HIV caused AIDS. She argues that scare stories about AIDS are driven by western prejudice against black people and the stereotypical white view of the promiscuous black man.  She recommends that people with ‘AIDS-like’ symptoms be given a diet rich in garlic and beetroot.

So, here we have an AIDS-denialist responsible for health policy in the country with the most AIDS-infected people anywhere in the world. She has been health minister for over 4 years. Is the scientific lobby camped out side her door waiting to charge her with a crime against humanity? No, the scientific community sits meekly in its ivory tower and does not intervene. She’s stupid and wrong, and we can prove it, so that’s the intellectual problem solved.

We need these scientists to take a more public stance, to be political.

Just curious, is anyone in the US aware of the extent of AIDS-denial going on in other parts of the world?

Everyone has an agenda!

Ed.  I am a scientist and have tried on several occassions to carry on a science-based discussion.  References to politics were mostly about how stupid it is to politicize it.  And that was aimed at Bush and his cronies who are damaging the science in this country in imponderable ways.

But it seems the majority of folks who post here are more interested in their opinions (beliefs) than in critical thinking or inquiry-based research.  Several people, myself included, have tried to provide references on various topics - to no avail.  This is really just an open discussion board with very little deliberative and certainly no collaborative efforts.

I, like you, have not spent much time of late reading these threads because they invariably devolve into something inane (as the above post shows). 

And, it doesn’t look like youre getting much in the way of other responses so my guess is the science folks (and I’ve seen numerous posts in the past from them) have largely abandoned the effort.

Bon chance.

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Posted: 01 July 2005 03:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Mystery Guest #2,

Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is it about my post that upsets you so? I cannot see the fallacy at all. I merely wish to point out that as scientists (and yes, I am one too), we cannot simply call people who do not understand science ‘stupid’ and claim an intellectual victory. That kind of thinking does nothing to move the debate forward.

You use the word ‘stupid’ a lot, I notice. What are you so angry about? You appear to be a very good example of the phenomenon I was alluding to in the first place.

(Sorry if I don’t have a scientific paper to back up what I just said. How exactly would you wish me to respond in a scientific way?)

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Posted: 01 July 2005 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Nietzsche, faith begins where science ends. Science will never unlock the mysteries of life (how it all began, why are we here, what makes our conscience’s tick, what is the force that sustains life and why does it leave our physical body, why do we age, is there life on other planets, why is the earth a sphere instead of a square block, how to replicate gravity, how to reduce or eliminate gravitational pull, etc., etc.). But you scientists leave off, that is where faith begins.

Have faith my friend. Faith in Jesus Christ and his gift of salvation for you. (then you won’t worry so much about all of life’s mysteries….)

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-29

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Posted: 01 July 2005 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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I, for one, would love to know what faith has to say about replicating or mitigating gravity.  Would you please enlighten us, oh champion?

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Posted: 01 July 2005 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Well Ed. See what I mean.

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Posted: 02 July 2005 11:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Just checking in to see what volume of responses.  It appears not much.  Pitty.

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Posted: 03 July 2005 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Champ,

You say that science “will never unlock the mysteries of life (how it all began, why are we here, what makes our conscience’s tick, what is the force that sustains life and why does it leave our physical body, why do we age, is there life on other planets, why is the earth a sphere instead of a square block, how to replicate gravity, how to reduce or eliminate gravitational pull, etc., etc.).”

That is one of the funniest posts I have seen on this site. Science has answers to all of these questions, if you would only look for them. Though why exactly you would want to eliminate gravitational pull is puzzling (maybe it would make the rapture more fuel efficient? Enlighten us please).

Science cannot answer what makes you tick (or what makes you thick), but we let faith take over at this point.

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Posted: 04 July 2005 08:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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[quote author=“Nietzsche”]Champ,

You say that science “will never unlock the mysteries of life (how it all began, why are we here, what makes our conscience’s tick, what is the force that sustains life and why does it leave our physical body, why do we age, is there life on other planets, why is the earth a sphere instead of a square block, how to replicate gravity, how to reduce or eliminate gravitational pull, etc., etc.).”

That is one of the funniest posts I have seen on this site. Science has answers to all of these questions, if you would only look for them. Though why exactly you would want to eliminate gravitational pull is puzzling (maybe it would make the rapture more fuel efficient? Enlighten us please).

Science cannot answer what makes you tick (or what makes you thick), but we let faith take over at this point.

This has to be one of the funniest posts I have seen on this site. Science has not answered any of these questions, though some have yielded some to some insight that gives us the ability to make predictions or build models.  And, funnily enough, science is closer to answering what makes The Champion tick than to some of the others.

The thread starts out as an appeal to scientists and science-minded individuals to make themselves known to see if there really is a critical mass of interest, and Nietzsche decides its a nice place to chat about politics and have a debate with The Champion.  Nice going N.

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Posted: 04 July 2005 09:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Mystery guest,

So now you have fallen into your own trap, of getting ‘political’ with me.  See how easily this can happen?

I’ll happily talk science with you if you wish (in my field of expertise, evolutionary biology).  For the record, I never said science has ‘answered’ all of the questions. I said we have ‘answers’ (meant in the sense of theories), some of which simply disprove religious nonsense. But nowhere in science is there a full theory explaining why the Champ is so obtuse.

Now get a user name and stop this mystery guest business.

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Posted: 05 July 2005 04:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Nietzsche,

If the above comment is directed at me (for mentioning the devolution of threads into political diatribe) I think you are getting me confused with someone else.  The guest above, perhaps.  I think there was someone who used Mystery Guest as a handle some time back.

I can see how being in evolutionary biology could attune one to politics.  But my intent was to point out that this topic area might be put to better use by discussing science and leaving the politics to the topic by that name. You can always provide a cross-reference link.  I admitt I have been guilty of falling into this myself when Conservative Athiest baited me with his Bush-written script about global warming.  I started out trying to discuss it as a scientific issue, but it was not to be.

BTW: I provided him/her with an explanation as to why scientist should NOT be political.  I will amend that advice to say that if a scientist wants to go political, he or she had better be ready to devote full time to it.  I have colleagues in my area (related strongly to the global warming problem) who have found themselves diminished as scientists when they opted to do some politiking.  They now find they can only operate in the political sphere and its a damn shame.  Several of them were top-rate scientists who now can no longer contribute to furthering the science behind GW.

Now Ed is wondering where the scientists (or those conversant or at least sincerely interested in science) are.  This thread no longer resembles the original intent.  So Ed (and the rest of us) may never be able to find an indication of what potential for scientific discussion is.

I’ll let the “mystery” guest speak for itself.

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Posted: 08 July 2005 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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[quote author=“Guest #2”]Now Ed is wondering where the scientists (or those conversant or at least sincerely interested in science) are. This thread no longer resembles the original intent. So Ed (and the rest of us) may never be able to find an indication of what potential for scientific discussion is.

Yes I am wondering.  BTW: What is with Guest #2 as a handle?

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Posted: 09 July 2005 06:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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[quote author=“Ed”][quote author=“Guest #2”]Now Ed is wondering where the scientists (or those conversant or at least sincerely interested in science) are. This thread no longer resembles the original intent. So Ed (and the rest of us) may never be able to find an indication of what potential for scientific discussion is.

Yes I am wondering.  BTW: What is with Guest #2 as a handle?

Its been a while.  I used to post just as guest and there was another person posting in the same thread at about the same time.  Someone pointed out they couldn’t figure out which was which and responded to my post as guest #2.  Seemed like a good idea at the time so I adopted the handle.

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