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It would be nice to think that one day mankind will evolve to a point where logic and reason are the only things that hold sway over people's minds when trying to fathom the imponderables of the universe but I doubt its something we will live to see.
I know that Political Science - as most social sciences - doesn't have accomplishments of the natural sciences. We can't perform as many experiments as we would like, and our observations are truncated by history (there are so many counterfactuals that makes statistical analysis difficult, specially because of the endogeneity of processes and institutions and the contextual determinism.)
But at least we try to follow the method. The problem is with the "political analysts" or the political pundits. This people appear on television or write in the papers about current affairs and most of them haven't conduct research. They have no data, no method, no possibilities of replication nor refutation. They have opinions, or worse, they have predictions! As some real research has shown, TV pundits are as accurate on their forescasts as it mere luck (they get things right 50% of the time) and many of them give controversial opinions ("Iran will attack the US" or "Obama will lose") in order to take attention from the media. This doesn't mean that people can't have beliefs about politics and society. But those shouldn't be mistaken for facts or scientific findings.
So, beware not only of Creationists and Astrologers, also have precaution against pseudo Political Scientists!
Thank you and quite true, @TheWizardOfIce. Now, this observation is yet another counter-intuitive one. ;-) You see, with our knowledge in the fields of quantum and particle physics, astronomy, human biology, ... rapidly increasing and with many successful experiments and endeavours being talked about in the news with, in fact, a growing attempt from creative scientists to explain them in so simple a way that everyone including children can understand them, how come we are systematically descending backwardsinto barbaric thinking? Makes no sense, right? I mean, how come witches still get burned in some parts of the globe? How come many book stores offer more books on astrology than on astronomy? The latter continues to demonstrate and prove that celestial physics works completely independently from us, hairy bundles of weak organic material accidentally crawling around on a tiny planet in the outskirts of but one galaxy. So then explain to me how it is even possible that educated people still expect the stars to take on configurations that would somehow dictate the future of our lives. Ridiculous doesn't even come close to what this is. Worse, however, is that it's also dangerous. I consider myself fortunate that my teachers, when I wasn't even in my teens, were sober enough folk to already show us the tricks behind horoscope future telling, the reason it sounds credible when it really isn't. I found myself able to pierce through the nonsense while many of my fellow schoolmates a few years later, in high school, systematically fell for the traps of astrology.
Thank you, @0013, for these wise words. Yes, I couldn't agree more. And you should know one other thing. When someone on USA television talks about immanent terrorist attacks, people on the other side of the globe, like where I live, immediately call in sick and stay home from work to 'prepare' for those attacks. Or it influences their financial decisions and we notice how pessimistic reports impact the stock market. A few days later, it turns out to have been nothing but deliberate fear engineering by one or two people, but it had impacted many more.
You pointed out a weakness of many predictions which I like to call out when people throw that nonsense in my face. Where's your method? Show me your numbers. Let's see evidence for some of those deducible 'facts'.
I have pictures of it on my wall, next to those of bigfoot and the Roswell landings. ;-)
All in all to cut a long story short: the internet gives idiocy a way of spreading faster, as it does to science. Thus shifting through our inforation overload is harder to do, especially to those who're untrained to do so. As you so rightly stated: education is the key. And where many countries in the west start failing in that field, many under developed countries are aiming exactly on that: proper education to all. India has shot a rocket to Mars I understand. Science will prevail, but maybe not in the ways you'd hoped.
Also, you're right that other parts of the world are focusing more on science than we are. That doesn't comfort me though. ;) Why can't we move on along with them? Work together in the field of astronomy for example? Taking a step backward frightens me to be honest. :-)
Could be classed as sci-fi but it did it happen - so not sci-fi but sci-fi in its nature??
She was all like
I was more like
Yeah. The stars do position themselves in such a way that they tell us, mere Earth people, about our future. Oh, and never mind that most twins fail to experience the very same day, despite them having the same date of birth, sometimes even within a minute from each other.
I hate astrology. Many so-called newspapers fail to mention science apart from a small column hidden on page so-and-so between celebrity news and sports, yet they publish astrology as if it actually means something. I don't mind provided that people realise it's crazy talk. Unfortunately, not everybody understands that. It's written in a newspaper after all, and so it must be true.
Yes! I noticed. I hope I can get my hands on the DVDs as soon as they're released.
just had a geekasm
Impressive! I'm enthused. :-) Thank you, @forgotmyusername!!
*Note: The above was just written with EXTREME SARCASM. Which can be very hard to detect from just text (don't you agree?). I don't mean a word of it. Unfortunately, one of my oldest and dearest friends does, I think, truly believe that.
God moves in mysterious ways.
For a quick idea of what's going on: follow this link.
Some lunatics prefer that we go back to the Middle-Ages. No doubt through religiously inspired motivation or ignorance (which is sometimes the same thing) it would appear that already more than a million people have signed this ludicrous petition against stem cell research. Of course one million out of many hundreds of millions in the EU seems to be a neglectable minority, but a million or so signatures is officially enough to have the European Commission take this nonsense into consideration.
Stem cell research is very important. It holds the key to a cure for even the worst diseases, to making the blind see again and so on. Even then, we learn so much from it on a strictly theoretical basis alone. I'm willing to bet that most people who sign this petition don't understand the first thing about science, and thus about the universe, life, us. They tend to be overprotective towards unborn life. Still, embryos aren't exactly massacred for the sake of this research.
Furthermore, what's more inhumane? To use stem cells from embryos for this research, or to let billions of people rot away because of some disease that might be defeated as a result of the many successes this type research continues to provide?
I'm also a Christian, so I want to say just please keep in mind that not all "religious folks" think that stem cell research, or science, is bad.
I have not studied it, but my impression is that a lot of the reaction against having vaccines is in error and has caused many people. especially children, to be vulnerable again to many diseases, including measles and polio. That kind of attitude seems to get blown up quickly, especially when you have "celebrities" touting that kind of thinking.
I think the problem is not in religions but in their dogmas. There are those religious people who have an open view of things and the others who are blinded by what they believe in that they can't think outside the box.
The stem cell (SC) question is the eternal misunderstanding. It's a mixture of people who thing it's the source of all evils and others that it's the answer to all problems. It's neither. The fact is that so far nobody really could make them work properly. One thing is for sure, if SC research is halted a lot of other research areas are halted as well because if there is one thing stem cells are good for (at the moment at least) is as a tool for other basic research areas. What scares a lot of people regarding SC is that a lot of it is done using embryos so people have this idea that embryos are being killed. I won't go into the discussion of when does life start but let me just say that the embryos used to retrieve SC are non-viable, they will not develop. If they can be used for something useful then I think it's great because they have a purpose. Better than keep them frozen ad eternum in N2. Couples undergoing IVF are usually very generous and donate their surplus/non-viable embryos to science but if a law passes not allowing them to be used there is nothing we can do about it.
This anti-vaccination thing is one of the most stupid and dangerous movements nowadays. So many diseases almost eradicated are coming back for pure and simple ignorance. And it's not just those, it's also people who are in danger groups who refuse the flu shot, or parents who are afraid to have their daughters take the HPV vaccine because of the supposed side effects, etc. Social networks, unfortunately, help spread this sort of nonsense. Fortunately good people counter-attack with actual solid information but some people prefer to believe in nonsense than in science.