Irony Alert

The New Atheists have long told us that we all need to become more like Denmark.  We’re told places like Denmark are more culturally advanced because they are more atheistic.

Well…..did you hear about the Danish man who videoed himself burning the Quran charged with blasphemy?

Which leads to a question.  Yes, there are many countries that are more atheistic than the USA.  Yet they also seem to be more heavily into the SJW ethic.  Is there a connection between the two?

 

 

Posted in Gnutopia, New Atheism, social justice atheism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

How the March for Science Can Hurt Science

I think the March for Science is a very bad idea for the simple reason that the March is likely to politicize science to a dangerous degree. Robert S. Young, a professor of coastal geology, wrote an essay for the NYT entitled, “A Scientists’ March on Washington Is a Bad Idea.”  Young explains:

But trying to recreate the pointedly political Women’s March will serve only to reinforce the narrative from skeptical conservatives that scientists are an interest group and politicize their data, research and findings for their own ends.

[…]

A march by scientists, while well intentioned, will serve only to trivialize and politicize the science we care so much about, turn scientists into another group caught up in the culture wars and further drive the wedge between scientists and a certain segment of the American electorate.

Wise words.  Let’s now flesh them out to help illustrate how the March for Science could seriously damage science for a long time.

Let’s begin with some Pew Research data that shows Americans place great trust in the scientific community:

Why do you think it is that 76% of American’s trust the scientific community to do what is in the best interests of the public?  I would propose the driving cause is the perception that scientists are non-partisan.  That’s why they cluster with the military and doctors and are at the opposite end of the trust spectrum from politicians and the media.  In other words, you could look at the same ranking and view it as people scoring groups in terms of the group being apolitical and/or non-partisan.  Human beings naturally place more trust in those whom are perceived to have no agenda other than helping or defending all people.

So let’s bring the March for Science into the picture.  They are careful to claim they are “nonpartisan group.”  But how believable is that?

Continue reading

Posted in activism, March for Science, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Politics and Kids

Another dime-a-dozen protest occurred at the University of Chicago.

Ah, yes.  Politically indoctrinating children to engage in symbolic acts of violence.

According to New Atheist logic, this is child abuse.

Posted in New Atheism, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged | 5 Comments

Is the March for Science “Non-partisan” Stance Dishonest?

It looks like the “non-partisan” March for Science could very well provide some interesting material over the next few weeks.  Let’s start with this report:

Hundreds of science supporters gathered here in Copley Square this afternoon at a rally coinciding with the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science. Ralliers chose the meeting—the first major gathering of scientists since Trump took office—as an opportune moment to demonstrate that the science community plans to fight recent policies that many see as dangerous to the role of science in society.

“We scientists want to send a message to Mr. Trump, and that’s that America runs on science,” Geoffrey Supran, a postdoctoral fellow studying energy modeling at MIT and science history at Harvard, tells Science. “Neither scientists nor citizens are going to stand idly by while the administration peddles anti-science rhetoric and alternative facts.”

Note how the post-doc claims to represent “We scientists” to make a partisan, political comment.

And check out this picture:

rally205

Like that sign? “Latest Trump Tweet: Earth is Flat. GOP agrees!”

Nothing partisan there.  Move along.

But here’s what really caught my eye:

The Rally to Stand Up for Science, which was supported by over a dozen science activism groups, is not the first of its kind, and it won’t be the last.

Science activism groups?  Hmmm.

Continue reading

Posted in activism, March for Science, Science, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Atheism as Subjective Opinion

In one his speeches given in May 2012, Peter Boghossian defines atheists:

The overwhelming majority of atheists don’t claim there is no god. They just claim there is not sufficient evidence to warrant belief in God.

Yet multiple atheists activists do indeed claim there is no god.  So it’s not clear if Boghossian is telling the truth or is simply expressing a common talking point.  Let’s be charitable and assume the former. This would mean such atheists really need to come to grips with what this means. If it is true “they just claim there is not sufficient evidence to warrant belief in God,” then they need to be honest with themselves and others and acknowledge their atheism is a personal, subjective opinion.

Take evidence. While many mistakenly think evidence is equivalent to objective reality, it is not. Data, detected by our senses, represent objective reality. Once the data are sensed, they can then be transformed into evidence by the mind. It is the brain which interprets the data and assigns meaning to that data. And one form of meaning that can be assigned is to interpret the data as evidence. But the data does not become evidence without the input from the mind, which relies on other beliefs, experiences, memories, and assumptions to convert the data into evidence. So evidence is a brain-dependent phenomenon. And this is what nicely explains the empirical fact that evidence rarely generates consensus. Even among the atheists themselves, there is no consensus on what data would count as evidence for God. Those of us who have asked atheists what type of evidence they need know that the answer you get is dependent on the atheist. In other words, what is considered evidence is a matter of taste.

But Boghossian makes it worse.

Continue reading

Posted in atheism, evidence, Peter Boghossian, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 27 Comments

Transactivist Denies Biology

Anytime I hear a social justice activist preach their ideology, a simple question comes to mind – “Where does this all end?”

Here’s a nice example, where a transgender activist argues that trans-women are NOT biologically male.  Y’see, the biological concepts of male and female are also social constructs.  All aboard the Post-Modern train to Crazy Town:

Makes ya wonder.  If you don’t agree with this armchair philosophical babble, are you still invited to the March For Science?

Posted in Social Justice, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 25 Comments

March for Post-Modern Science

The March for Science apparently comes with its own particular version of the philosophy of science.  This can be clearly seen when Jerry Coyne’s views of science are contrasted with other March supporters (and the March itself).

First, Coyne tells us that science works according to a universal toolkit that is used the same by everyone:

If we are to march, we should march in unity for truth, and against those who reject empirical truth. What unites all science—and makes it unique—is that it is a universal toolkit, used in the same way by members of all groups, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion. That is what holds us together.

But that’s not how the March for Science (MfS) views science.  First, the MfS thinks ethnic and gender diversity is necessary for good science:

Science works best when scientists come from diverse perspectives, and we must work to encourage and support a new generation of scientists that increasingly includes historically underrepresented groups.

If the scientific toolkit is universal, and is used the same by everyone, why is it that “Science works best when scientists come from diverse perspectives?”  Don’t get distracted by the moral question of science needing to be diverse.  The question is whether such ethnic and gender diversity is needed to make science work at its best.  If that is the case, Coyne’s universal toolkit perspective is fundamentally flawed.

In fact, the contrast becomes even more clear in another statement from the MfS:

Science is first and foremost a human process — it is conducted, applied, and supported by a diverse body of people. Scientific inquiry is not an abstract process that happens independent of culture and community.

This comes across as a denial of Coyne’s view.  Coyne tells us science has a universal toolkit that is “used in the same way by members of all groups, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion.”  Yet the MfS tells us that “scientific inquiry is not an abstract process that happens independent of culture and community.”  Science is a “human process,” not the deployment of some “universal toolkit.”  Science happens within the context of “culture and community,” not outside of it.

If you need something that is even more obvious yet, consider what biologist Emily Willingham wrote in her essay, “The March For Science In Washington Is Political Whether You Like It Or Not.”

Continue reading

Posted in activism, March for Science, Politics, Religion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 29 Comments

The Original March For Science Symbol

Here’s what the original March for Science symbol looked like (HT: Dhay):

scientistsmarch

The web page used to say:

Isn’t science apolitical?

Yes. Scientists, however are not. The march is non-partisan, however it is intended to have an impact on policy makers.

Well, nothing says “non-partisan” like a clenched, left fist. lol-with-emoji

 

Posted in activism, March for Science, Politics, Science, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

March for Science: The Extreme Left’s Trojan Horse?

On the March For Science page, we currently read:

Science is not a field that should be understood only by a small few — every person, from every background, deserves an education that encourages scientific learning alongside the arts and humanities. Science works best when scientists come from diverse perspectives, and we must work to encourage and support a new generation of scientists that increasingly includes historically underrepresented groups.

Sounds fairly mainstream.  But this is a scrubbed version.  On Feb 1, the March For Science page had an earlier version:

At the March for Science, we are committed to highlighting, standing in solidarity with, and acting as allies with black, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander, indigenous, Muslim, non-Christian, non-religious, women, people with disabilities, poor, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans, non-binary, agender, and intersex scientists and science advocates. We must work to make science available to everyone and encouraging individuals of all backgrounds to pursue science careers, especially in advanced degrees and positions. A diverse group of scientists produces increasingly diverse research, which broadens, strengthens, and enriches scientific inquiry, and therefore, our understanding of the world.

As you can see, the March for Science stood in solidarity with many groups, but notice how both Jews and Christians are not mentioned.  Does anyone really think that was some oversight?

Well, if you go back to Jan 29, the extreme leftist underpinnings of the March for Science were on full display:

Continue reading

Posted in activism, March for Science, Politics, Science, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 36 Comments

Sam Harris Criticizes Religious Moderates and Misses the Target

Sam Harris writes about “The Problem with Religious Moderates.”

He sets things up as follows:

People of faith fall on a continuum: some draw solace and inspiration from a specific spiritual tradition, and yet remain fully committed to tolerance and diversity, while others would burn the earth to cinders if it would put an end to heresy. There are, in other words, religious moderates and religious extremists, and their various passions and projects should not be confused. However, religious moderates are themselves the bearers of a terrible dogma: they imagine that the path to peace will be paved once each of us has learned to respect the unjustified beliefs of others. I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance-born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God-is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.

Note that while Harris admits of a continuum, he focuses solely on the two extreme ends of the continuum.  At one end, we have the “religious extremist” – someone who is willing to destroy the planet if it helps imposes his/her religious belief.  At the other end, we have the “religious moderate” – someone who adheres to the dogma of tolerance and diversity to the point where they think we all need to respect unjustified belief, including, I suppose, the apocalyptic views of the extremist who would “burn earth to cinders.”

What becomes immediately obvious is that this population of religious extremists + religious moderates represents a tiny percent of “people of faith.”  That is, Sam Harris’s descriptions fail to accurately capture of the beliefs and positions of the majority of religious people.  No one here, for example, would qualify as an example of Harris’s two categories.

If Harris’s argument is intended as some type of critique of religious people or religion, it is a textbook example of a straw man argument – a logical fallacy.  The rational thing to do is thus dismiss Harris’s argument.  Try again.

Harris’s argument actually has a second fatal flaw – he misuses the word “moderate.”

Continue reading

Posted in New Atheism, Sam Harris | Tagged , , | 17 Comments