Archive for the ‘tectonics’ Category

The scientific character of this-idiot-nation

March 17, 2011

Robert W Benson at huffpost (Emeritus Professor of Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles)

“You might think that the revolution of Internet-blogging-networking technology would work to spread sound scientific knowledge more broadly, but you would be wrong. The new technology spreads a cacophony of voices in which the pre- Enlightenment folks are not only equal, but more numerous and dominant than the voices of reason. Journalist Charles Pierce not long ago wrote an essay on Idiot America, followed by a book of that name, in which he argued that

the rise of Idiot America today represents–for profit mainly, but also, and more cynically, for political advantage and in the pursuit of power–the breakdown of a consensus that the pursuit of knowledge is a good. It also represents the ascendancy of the notion that the people whom we should trust the least are the people who best know what they’re talking about. In the new media age, everybody is a historian, or a preacher, or a scientist, or a sage. And if everyone is an expert, then nobody is, and the worst thing you can be in a society where everybody is an expert is, well, an actual expert.
Moreover, the new technology is not working alone. You have the likes of oil interests such as Koch Industries and Exxon Mobil funding a phalanx of anti-science spokesmen, think-tanks and lobbyists. They put their money into sowing doubt about the scientific consensus, as many of these same people did on tobacco, ozone and acid rain, playing on the fact that the way science works is to set up repeated challenges of the evidence by peers, but ignoring that scientific consensuses do indeed exist– otherwise, we would not have made the progress we did on tobacco, ozone and acid rain.”

“None of this would have surprised historian Richard Hofstadter who won a Pulitzer in 1964 for his book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Starting with the colonies, Hofstadter shows how the vast underlying stratum of anti-elite, anti-reason, anti-science Americans has frequently erupted into political and cultural action. These are folks who never heard of the Enlightenment of the 18th century, and do not experience a lot of reason, logic or the empirical method in their daily lives. They live by “common sense,” personal relationships and superstition. They have always been with us, and there are a lot of them. Their outburst into today’s anti-science global warming mania would just be the latest chapter in Hofstadter’s book.”

We agree in the assessment regarding the cacophonic yakking and yapping that obscure the issues.

El Mono Jojoy (RIP or not, hopefully)

September 23, 2010

meanwhile the science educated class of bloggers foam about a PLoS paper suggesting a geophysical explanation (really ..?) for “parting” the Red Sea..(.Im serious) in Colombia, el mono jojoy, a notorious FARC mercenary was dronidized to eternity together with more than 60  of his soldier-killers  (sicarios). I mention these two facts in tandem to point to the  irrelevancy of blog-mostly scientific-commentary in its inability to engage and influence positive change elsewhere.  Life happens physically. …still and the comments, secular, religious or whatever should adress the pressing conditions which somehow are hidden to the ruling bloggheads. What is the importance of the geophysics of the parting of the red sea??Zilch. Instead Coyne, Hawks and a bunch of others dive unto the issue as it was a matter and a metter of life or death when actually el mono jojoy was. Scientists are too scared to comment on anything real. If it wasnt so tragic it would be hilarious. Which it is. Picture a group of scientists blasting at each other about the merits of peer review (which is a euphemism for gorup interest), the Red Sea parting, darwinius, creation, group selection, the f*&*^&ing  selfish gene and more, much more. How has science blogging increased understanding to solve  the tragedy of Colombia? or the tragedy of the “Pledge to america” (the GOP preposterous claim to recovery). It is a pertinent question; scientists, rather than engage in futile, inane and insane word wars (after the second comment is mosty insults)should move their energy towards solving inequality and inequity. Social chiasm is fundamentally a problem of justice and distribution of resources.   Science blogging has become a ridiculousy superflous veneer of …meaningless bs (for most)

Darwin in Chile

February 20, 2010

Mr Charles Darwin spent considerable time in Chile (1835) where he experienced a 8.5 earthqueake in Concepcion, a chain of formidable volcanic eruptions and crossed the Andes walking  to Argentina, and back, at Santiago latitude (~35 S)!!. The only other person I know walked the Andes is Dr John Rombold, a professor at Northwest Indian College, my former employer (sic). He used to be, Mr Rombold, a good friend. I watched a decent docudrama narrating -Mr Darwins- adventures in Chile  in the international Chilean TVN signal (dishnetwork) lead by Dr Purto, a respected mountaineer of Everest fame. Many events were reported by Mr Darwin while in Chile. He did 1/3 0r 1/4 of Chile by land. My favourite report  is his narrative of the astonishing rate of growth of the chilean giant barnacle: austromegabalanus psittacus (in Coquimbo, which you can find, if I am not mistaken in his cirripedia compendium)

Talk about a different kind of mentally ill people (MIP) 2010

January 14, 2010

We all have read or watched (have we?) the horribility of the earthquake in Haiti. Now we know why it happened: according, to Pat Robertson, yes THAT one, the Haitian people had made, a long time ago, a pact with the devil, hence it is time to pay up. Needless to say, he knows this from personal revelation. Is Marion Gordon”Pat”, crazy, MIP or just an obsessive compulsive manipulator of the thousands-millions-that follow the Christian Broadcasting Network, around the world?? Im afraid will never know, however, another MIP  manipulator, Rush Limbaugh, mentioned in passing that this is the “right catastrophe for Barack to build more support from”. He must be MIP or rather,  is he ‘evil”? are these men bad?  They dont speak from knwoledge; they “appeal” to something that I cant quite grasp, which lurks in the inner spaces of the worst of the human condition. There are plenty of comments on this today.