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The new barbarism: Keeping science out of politics – How the World Works –

I pretty much agree with this. We need more science driving policy, not less. More rationality, less superstition. More reason, less dogma.

The new barbarism: Keeping science out of politics – How the World Works –

Keep science out of the political process? Science? I thought it was supposed to be the other way around; that the goal was the keep politics out of science. I can understand, albeit disagree with, categorizations of anthropogenic global warming as bad science, but I’m afraid I just can’t come to grips with the notion that we should keep “science” from influencing politics at all. What is the point of civilization in the first place if we don’t use our hard-won understanding of how the universe works to influence our decisions on how to organize ourselves?

Watching one Republican candidate for office after another declare outright that they do not believe humans are causing climate change is befuddling enough. But to flat-out reject science as a guide to policy is beyond medieval. It’s a retreat to pure superstition, a surrender to barbarism. We might as well be reading omens in the entrails of sacrificial animals. Our wealth as a country, our incredible technological wonders — the Industrial Revolution! — were built upon scientific discovery.

Quote of the Decade

“I have been part of this debate for years, but things do get settled and this issue is now settled for me. I do not debate any longer with members of the “Flat Earth Society” either. I do not debate with people who think we should treat epilepsy by casting demons out of the epileptic person; I do not waste time engaging those medical opinions that suggest that bleeding the patient might release the infection. I do not converse with people who think that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans as punishment for the sin of being the birthplace of Ellen DeGeneres or that the terrorists hit the United Sates on 9/11 because we tolerated homosexual people, abortions, feminism or the American Civil Liberties Union. I am tired of being embarrassed by so much of my church’s participation in causes that are quite unworthy of the Christ I serve or the God whose mystery and wonder I appreciate more each day.

Indeed I feel the Christian Church should not only apologize, but do public penance for the way we have treated people of color, women, adherents of other religions and those we designated heretics, as well as gay and lesbian people. Life moves on.

As the poet James Russell Lowell once put it more than a century ago: “New occasions teach new duties, Time makes ancient good uncouth.” I am ready now to claim the victory. I will from now on assume it and live into it.

I am unwilling to argue about it or to discuss it as if there are two equally valid, competing positions any longer. The day for that mentality has simply gone forever. This is my manifesto and my creed. I proclaim it today. I invite others to join me in this public declaration. I believe that such a public outpouring will help cleanse both the church and this nation of its own distorting past. It will restore integrity and honor to both church and state. It will signal that a new day has dawned and we are ready not just to embrace it, but also to rejoice in it and to celebrate it,”

Bishop John Shelby Spong

(much thanks to Andrew Sullivan for the pointer)

I am he as you are he as you are me….

I certainly wouldn’t vote for me. I’d be a terrible senator. That’s why I’m not running for the Senate.

The Liberal Conservative Party?

The UK election may be coming to a close, as rumours circulate about a coalition between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. My sources report Tories get the Prime Minister, Defence Minister, and Home Secretary, while LibDems get The Department of Muggle/Wizard Relations and the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Random thoughts

  • I’ve ranted about the 24-hour news cycle and how I think it’s responsible for any number of ills, but today on my way back in from lunch I spotted the headline on CNN: “Deadly Flu: Nowhere is safe!”

    Now, this may well be actually true, but honestly, it would be nice if the news actually brought perspective and insight to its reporting rather than sensationalism. I remain a dreamer.

  • eloren says to me toward the end of a long and somewhat troublesome workday: “I can’t even go home and crawl into bed and pretend today didn’t happen, because I have to help Ryan [her son] build a bug. It’s build a bug day.”

    Immediately, I imagined a sort of Goreyesque spin-off of the Build-A-Bear workshop. I’m uncertain if it’s unfortunate or just as well that I don’t have the money and time to pursue these ideas I have.

  • Speaking of ideas, can anyone actually explain Japanese culture to me? I don’t mean the shoguns and the samurai and the Bushido Code and all that. All of *that* I understand. I want to know where this stuff comes from.
  • Only a few people actually asked me questions in the "ask me anything" meme the other day. I’m still open for them if you want. A couple of them gave me good ideas for more involved posts, which I hope to be writing in the near future. So don’t be shy — I really do want to hear from you, if only to assuage my insecurity that anyone actually reads this journal any more. 🙂
  • While pulling out my little snapshot camera and checking its battery, I realised I never uploaded the few photos I managed to take at Gafilk. Look for those shortly.
  • Speaking of photos, I love that Flickr gives me touch-up tools right on the website. One of the reasons I never bothered fixing the red-eye on some of them is that Gallery made it reasonably difficult to replace photos after editing them. They aren’t perfect tools, but it’s better than nothing and means I’m much more likely to try and fix things than before.
  • I wish there was a better LJ client for linux. Logjam is ok, but it lacks a preview feature, and Drivel crashed on my Ubuntu system.

Link Digest

Various links collected over the last couple of weeks. These were originally posted to my Twitter account.

Politics – US National

Politics – LGBT Edition


Links and Notes

Various links worth reading relating to the election:

  • George Wallace’s daughter ponders how he might have felt about the election of Barack Obama.
  • A blogger at ponders what this election might mean for the future of both the Republican and Democratic party. Particularly worth noting is the section on The Joshua Generation.
  • Obama’s speech about The Joshua Generation referenced above, delivered at the Selma Voting Rights March Commemoration in March, 2007.. I think it’s good enough to get it’s own citation here.
  • Wil Wheaton nails it. Right on the head. More or less what people like myself and kitanzi were trying to say in our posts on Wednesday, only better.
  • A lovely poem by Suzette Haden Elgin.

  • Reflections on Obama

    Last night, when MSNBC made the call for Obama, there was a cheer, and then a stunned silence among the quartet on my sofa. My immediate thought was, oddly enough, of the musical 1776. One of the finest moments in William Daniel’s masterful performance as John Adams comes right at the end, when the motion on Independence passes. “It’s done!” he says forcefully, then, pausing a moment, he seems to deflate, and with somber realization, he repeats softly, “It’s done.”

    It’s worth remembering that while we celebrate the date of the Declaration as Independence Day, it was on October 19th, 1781, when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, that the wheels set in motion by that historic document were realized. And thus, it’s important to realize that the election of Barack Obama is not the end of anything. It is the beginning of something, and there is much blood, sweat, and toil ahead of us.

    There are many things that I admire about Obama that have little to do with his political leanings. I admire that he is a thoughtful man, a deliberate man, a man who is considerate of the opinions of others. I admire that he is intellectually curious, and I admire that he is willing to admit publicly that he doesn’t have all the answers, and that he will make mistakes. I expect him to surround himself with quality advisers, and I expect him to listen to them.

    I know there are people who read this who are disappointed in the results. Some of them have been gracious, and some of them have been bitter and angry. I want to say to them that they are still my friends, and shall always be, no matter how we might disagree on issues of the day. I’m a firm believer in consensus, and I think that the conservative viewpoint does have merit and should be factored into the decisions that are made by the government.

    To those who are ecstatic over the results, who worked hard to make this happen by donating time, money, and words to the campaign, well done. But please remember that most of the people who worked just as hard for McCain are not bad people. They love our country as much as we do, even if they disagree with us on what is best for it. If we stop and take the time to actually talk to one another rather than past one another, we may yet find that there is more that binds us together than keeps us apart.

    Because I don’t just want a different government in Washington. I want a better government. Last night, we took the first small step towards what I believe will become a better government. How quickly, and how much better, will depend on how we all come together, not as liberals and conservatives, or as Democrats and Republicans, but as Americans.

    I have voted

    Well, I went and did my civic duty over lunch, and voted. The line wasn’t really bad — I was in and out of the precinct in about 40 minutes from the time I parked the time I drove off, giving me amble time to grab something for lunch and be back to work within my allotted lunch hour. (I came in early today to bank extra time in case I needed a longer lunch. Maybe they’ll let me go home early.)

    It won’t surprise anyone who knows me that I’m voting for Obama. I encourage others to do likewise. But if you are a fan of McCain, or Bob Barr, or George Phillies, or Cynthia McKinney or Pat Paulson or Harold Stassen, go and record your preference. Because that’s what participatory democracy is all about.

    REMINDER: Election Party Tuesday Night

    This is just a reminder that we will be holding an open election party tomorrow night at our place. There will be food and drinks, though feel free to bring something to add to the festivities. We expect people to start showing up around 7pm.

    If you need directions, drop me an e-mail or leave a comment.

    Hope to see you there!

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