FOR BOLOGNA DETECTION
“What you think you know may not be so.”
[Rev. Art, Cheerleader for Science]
(Click on any image to ENLARGE it)
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept."
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and consciencious stupidity." [Martin Luther King, Jr.]
"It is easier to love
humanity than to love your neighbor." [Eric
RICHARD DAWKINS TO ADVISE SECULAR COALITION FOR AMERICA
Famed Scientist Joins the Advisory Board of the Secular Coalition for America
The Secular Coalition for America is pleased to announce the addition of Richard Dawkins to its Advisory Board. The Secular Coalition for America is the first lobbying organization representing the interests of atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other non-theists in the nation's capitol.
Richard Dawkins is a well known commentator on science, religion, and politics. He taught zoology at the University of California at and at Oxford University and now holds the Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford. Dr. Dawkins is an eminent ethologist, evolutionary theorist, and popular science writer. His bestselling books include The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker (for which he won the Royal Society of Literature Award and the Los Angeles Times Literary Prize), The Extended Phenotype, River Out of Eden, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, and A Devil's Chaplain. His latest book, The God Delusion, will be released in October.
Lori Lipman Brown, the Director of the Secular Coalition for America, stated:
Richard Dawkins embodies our mission statement commitment in "promoting reason and science as the most reliable methods for understanding the universe and improving the human condition."
His international perspective will assist the Secular Coalition for America in tackling the irrational barriers that inhibit the exploration of scientific arenas such as stem cell research. In June of last year, the House of Representatives passed HB 810, which would allow expanded stem cell research; however, the Senate has taken no action on this legislation. This legislative lethargy enforced by the Senate leadership is completely lacking in conscience or compassion. If allowed to proceed, stem cell research has the potential to find cures for a host of diseases and injuries including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, diabetes, and spinal cord injuries. The Secular Coalition for America again thanks Dr. Dawkins for joining its Advisory Board and looks forward to his insights on promoting rational public policies.
THERE A “BRAIN DRAIN”?
by Mark C. Chu-Carroll
@Good Math, Bad Math
…The question: "Do you think there is a brain drain going on (i.e. foreign scientists not coming to work and study in the U.S. like they used to, because of new immigration rules and the general unpopularity of the U.S.) If so, what are its implications? Is there anything we can do about it?"
My answer? For me, I'd have to say that there is absolutely no question that there is a dramatic change. The main cause isn't dislike of the US or of Americans; it's caused by the way that the current immigration and visa related policies of our government have a completely unpredictable and harshly negative impact on people who would otherwise be very favorably inclined towards us.
For a few examples that I've seen just in the last month or two:
- My wife is a program chair of a conference in NYC this week, and she's had two authors cancel their presentations because they couldn't get visas.
- I know of at least a half-dozen students who were supposed to start at US grad schools last fall, but couldn't, because of visa problems.
- A coworker went home to have her visa renewed, and is unable to return to her job in the US because, as someone with an Arab-sounding last name, they flagged her as a risk, and it'll take at least six months for her to get a new visa. (Seriously, we're refusing to allow people who went to school in the US, and have permanent jobs in the US to re-enter the country!)
- Another coworker went home to visit family, and got harassed by the immigration official at the airport.
That's just the tip of the iceberg.
Every time something like that happens, in addition to the damage that we do to the specific people affected, we also influence others to not waste their time in even trying to come here.
As for whether this will have an effect on the US? Again, absolutely. I know the faculty at my alma mater; and I know faculty at many other schools. In CS, at least half the faculty is foreign born. Same for math. People like them aren't going to keep coming to the US when they're going to be at risk for harassment, for losing jobs and homes over arbitrary nonsense from petty officials.
It's already visible if you're looking for it. People that I know, who five years ago would have been taking jobs in the US are taking jobs in Canada, in Germany, in England. Because they don't want to face the risks of coming here.
What to do about it? It's also an easy answer. We need to get our government, and the people working for it to stop acting like assholes. We need to make some effort to recognize the fact that the vast, overwhelming majority of people are not terrorists, and to incorporate that fact into our policies. We need to stop stalling people for no reason; and remove the element of capriciousness from the whole process of entering the country.
A person who has a paper in a technical conference in the US, visiting on a short term visa, is not a huge security risk. Top students coming from foreign schools to get educated in are not huge security risks. Not every person with an Arab-sounding last name is a terrorist. A person with a job in America who hasn't done anything wrong, who would never be considered for being charged with an expulsion-level crime, should not be punished for going home to visit. None of these things make sense. None of these things improve our security… We are making a deliberate policy of making lives miserable for foreigners who want to contribute to our society. That needs to stop.
ON THE PSEUDO-PROFUNDITY OF SOME EASTERN PHILOSOPHY
from RATIONALLY SPEAKING by Massimo Pigliucci
“What is the sound of one hand clapping?” “What did your face look like before your ancestors were born?” These are some allegedly profound questions posed by Zen masters, as discussed in Doubt: a History, by Jennifer Hecht. It is also the sort of philo-bubble that gives philosophy a bad name – and sells plenty of titles in the Eastern philosophy section of bookstores.
Consider the first question: it is, in fact, utter
nonsense, since clapping – by definition – requires two hands (no, you
are not clapping if you bang your hand on another source, you are just
making noise). The second question is nonsense on stilts, since I did
not exist before my ancestors were born, and I need to exist in order
to have a face. These are not questions to which it is difficult to
find an answer because they are too deep, there is no answer because
there is no question, and if you spend decades of your life seeking
enlightenment this way, I feel sorry for all the waste of human
potential. (And no, I don't believe in metaphorical or allegorical
questions, in case you were wondering.)
More generally, it could be argued that there is no such thing as Eastern philosophy – though certainly not all output in that area is so useless as the two questions discussed above. That is because philosophy is an activity of a particular kind, invented 25 centuries ago in Greece. Bear with me, I'm not trying to be Euro-centric, or deferring only to DWM's (Dead White Males). Philosophy, as it has been understood ever since Plato and until pretty recently, is a form of inquiry into the nature of the world and the human condition. Such inquiry is supposed to be conducted by the use of logical reasoning, where possible informed by empirical evidence (hence the origin of science, initially called, appropriately enough, experimental or natural philosophy).
Now, we can find plenty of interesting and stimulating Eastern texts produced over the last couple of millennia, from a variety of traditions including Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and so forth. But none of these texts is philosophical in nature because they do not attempt to argue for a position by using logic and evidence. On the contrary, they are more alike to ancient Jewish (and then Christian) mystical writings, and are therefore not philosophy under any reasonable understanding of the term.
Look, it's like saying that soccer and (American) football are the same thing because they are both played with balls, they simply originated on two different continents. They are certainly not the same thing. They are different sports, using different rules, requiring different skills, and with very distinct histories. To say that American football isn't soccer is not a criticism or a value judgment (ok, I admit that I will be watching the World Cup next month, while I skipped the Superbowl ever since they made it impossible for Janet Jackson to show her breasts again). To claim a difference is simply to state a matter of fact about the two sports. Similarly, Eastern thought – whatever it is, and however useful it may be – is not philosophy. And when it consists of asking questions about sound made by trees falling in forests where nobody listens, well, just answer 42 – it's as good an insight into the question of life, the universe and everything as you'll ever find, and it won't require decades of meditation staring at a wall.
DRUNK AS A MONK-EY from SEED Magazine
The only image more depressing than a grown man getting drunk alone is an adorable macaque monkey getting drunk alone. According to a recent paper in the journal Methods, the drinking behaviors of monkeys mimic those of humans. Macaques in the study drank more when they were alone and often liked to have a morale-booster after a long day in the lab. In one experiment researchers created two "happy hours," one where 21 monkeys all boozed and schmoozed together and one where 10 individually housed monkeys each had their own private happy hour of solo drinking misery. These monkeys drank two to three times more than their social counterparts. In another experiment, monkeys had all-day ethanol access, and the researchers found they drank the most right after work, when the lab closed. The researchers found that some of the monkeys who were most predisposed to alcohol abuse would drink until they stumbled, vomited or just fell asleep.
(source: Discovery News)
FIGHT DRUGS WITH...DRUGS? from SEED Magazine
Switzerland's crazy-liberal policy of offering heroin addicts methadone or buprenorphine as a substitute for their addiction, successfully decreases the number of heroin dependents, according to a new paper published in the Lancet. The number of new Swiss heroin users declined precipitously from 850 new users in 1990 to 150 in 2002. In other, more conservative countries such as the UK, Italy and Australia, the number of new heroin users is on the rise. While the crutch program does wonders for stopping heroin addiction before it starts, it's not so good at actually helping people quit. The low cessation rate nearly balances out the low start rate, so overall number of Swiss heroin dependents only declines by 4% each year.
E. COLI EAT CHOCOLATE, SECRETE ELECTRICAL POWER
from SEED Magazine
Not all alternative fuels are created equal. That's because not all
alternative fuels involve intestinal bacteria consuming candy and then
excreting hydrogen. Scientists from the University of
Birmingham in the UK have created a method of energy production by feeding chocolate-factory
waste—diluted caramel and nougat—to E. coli. After bingeing, the
bacteria produced hydrogen, which the researchers harnessed to power a fuel
cell that was able to drive a small fan. In a perfect world, the researchers
would use chocolate waste to make more chocolate.
(source: New Scientist Tech)
In Ann Coulter’s latest screed, GODLESS: THE CHURCH OF LIBERALISM she devotes the last 80 pages to her full-scale attack on the theory of evolution and the utter dishonesty of what she calls the "Darwiniacs" and their refusal to face the fact that evolution is a patent absurdity, according to Coulter, credible only to those who will find any reason to deny the existence of God.
Full Review @ NEWSMAX
"The fundamental difference between our religion and theirs is that theirs always tells them what they want to hear. Darwinism never disappoints the liberals. They never say ‘Well, I'd like to have cheap meaningless sex tonight, but that would violate Darwinism.' They can't even say ‘I'd like to have cheap meaningless sex tonight with a goat, but that would violate Darwinism.' If you have an instinct to do it, it must be evolved adaptation. Liberals subscribe to Darwinism not because it's science, which they hate, but out of some wishful thinking. Darwinism lets them off the hook morally."
With Pontius Pilate, the Darwiniacs ask "what is truth?" Their answer: Whatever they want it to be...
"What my hopelessly pedantic colleagues fail to realize is that their scientific method is just that--their method," said Hapner, whose self-published 2004 thesis argued that matter exists in four states: solid, liquid, gas, and powder.
Good fortune. COMMENT! Please spread the meme. Don’t smoke in bed…