Sunday, May 26, 2013
President Obama is coming to Oklahoma. He could be touching down at any minute. Unfortunately I won't be able to make it anywhere near enough to see him. I, like the rest of America, will have to settle for seeing him on the television.
President Obama is doing on of the things that any leader needs to do, and incidentally, something that many of the representatives of Oklahoma are refusing to do. President Obama is trying to help the people get back on their feet after the horrible tornado that hit Moore, OK on May 20th. He is here to survey the damage, speak with the Governor, and see what can be done. Now if only we could get Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe to provide as much support for Oklahoma as the President does.
The Digital Cuttlefish does it again. Today he wrote a poem about whooping cough and the need for vaccinations. I had whooping cough when I was a child –– not because I wasn't vaccinated, but because vaccines aren't 100% effective. That is the reason that everyone needs to get vaccinated, we need herd immunity so that no one has to die from these horrible, yet preventable, diseases.
As a side note, I wanted to leave a comment on his site, but when I tried to log in it said that only administrator accounts can use the mobile login? Sorry Cuttlefish.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
This is extraordinary, powerful and profound. There are profound differences between the policies of President Obama and Democrats versus the policies proposed by the atheist Ayn Rand and conservative voices such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Paul (sic) Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Republican leaders in Congress.
This is extraordinary, powerful and profound. There are profound differences between the policies of religious President Obama and religious Democrats versus the policies proposed by the atheist Ayn Rand and conservative voices such as religious Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), religious Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), religious Rep. Paul (sic) Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and religious Republican leaders in [a] religious Congress.
The pope specifically calls on world leaders to address the great economic and financial injustices, and I agree with him completely. The pope uses words like "cult" and "dictatorship" to describe the champions of financial justice and the conditions their policies create, and I fully agree with him about this, as well.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Skeptics like Steven Novella insist that sticking to the realm of science is “about clarity of philosophy, logic, and definition” rather than strategic advantage or intellectual cowardice, but some critics find this position unsatisfying—or even suspicious. (...)
(...) What are we to make of accusations that skepticism’s “testable claims” scope is a cynical political dodge, a way to present skeptics as brave investigators while conveniently arranging to leave religious feathers unruffled? Like the other clichés of my field (“skeptics are in the pocket of Big Pharma!”) this complaint is probably immortal. No matter how often this claim is debunked, it will never go away.
Now, here’s what actually is true: scientific skeptics investigate claims that can be investigated (religious or otherwise) and we set aside claims that cannot be investigated (again, religious or otherwise). The “religious” part is irrelevant. It comes up on both sides of the testability equation, so just cross it out and forget about it. The only relevant distinction is simply whether empirical evidence is possible. If we can’t collect evidence, then tough—we can’t. If we can collect evidence, then we do, regardless of whom that evidence may offend.
Gary Marcus posted an article in the Newyorker concerning science, religion, and faith.
(...) Any agnostic is free to believe that his favorite religion has not yet been completely disproven. But anyone who wishes to bring science into the argument must acknowledge that the evidence thus far is weak, especially when it is combined statistically, in the fashion of a meta-analysis. To emphasize the qualitative conclusion (X has not been absolutely proven to be false) while ignoring the collective weight of the quantitative data (i.e., that most evidence points away from X) is a fallacy, akin to holding out a belief in flying reindeer on the grounds that there could yet be sleighs that we have not yet seen.This is one of several prongs that is useful in understanding religion. Religions have been looked at an enormous amount over the course of human history. Every time we have looked at them, they have failed. The accumulation of all those failures add a statistical weight to just how unlikely it is that any given religion is true. And all that is before we even weigh any claim from a specific religion.
The idea that any religion is true is so miniscule that it would take an enormous amount of verifiable evidence to swing the scales back the the idea that believing in religion was scientifically reasonable.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
"Teenagers were delaying treatment,” Insko said. “They were getting sicker, they were spreading venereal disease, in some cases committing suicide because they could not talk to their parents.”
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The Times editorialists fall back on the usual “they’ll have sex anyway” rationale for demanding Plan B for 11- and 12-year-olds: “Lack of access to safe contraception will not stop adolescents from having sex,” they write. The same can be said for smoking, of course.