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(NPR)   One in four Americans think the sun goes around the Earth. No word how many think the Earth is actually flat and located atop four elephants which themselves are balanced upon a giant turtle   (npr.org) divider line 265
    More: Fail, Americans, turtles  
•       •       •

6972 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Feb 2014 at 5:45 AM (49 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-02-15 08:25:34 AM  

a particular individual: kidgenius: a particular individual:
"Liberals led an assault against evolutionary psychology for saying human thought and behavior are partially the result of evolution."

Somehow I doubt that liberals would be the only ones against the idea that thought and behavior are the tied to evolution. In general, most of the public probably doesn't like that idea because, we're humans. We're "special" and therefore we are more than just some chemicals in our brains.

It's similar to the idea that criminals aren't criminals because they choose to be, but instead due in a not insignificant part to their brain's chemistry/biology, over which they have no control.

It's an interesting field, but it definitely makes people from all spectrums quite uncomfortable.

Also, liberals are far more likely to embrace the notion that teh ghey is biological. The Scientific American article isn't an article--it's an editorial grinding an axe.


Bear in mind that I'm not at my office and don't have my copy of The Blank Slate in front of me, so I'm shooting from the hip here.

Things about Pinker's book: First, while you might think that the SA author is a conservative axe-grinder, Pinker most certainly is NOT. Second, most of what Pinker talks about are not general descriptions of all left-leaning people everywhere, but specifically about 20th-Century leftist academics. Given this context, Pinker is not speculating about the secret motivations of his enemies, he is stating historical fact. For the past century, one of the dominant strands running through liberal thought has been to give primacy to environmental explanations, and this is a conscious choice made explicit in these academics' own writings. In history, it has been the left that has downplayed the "Great Man Theory" of history (that history is caused by the character and decisions of individuals) in favor of theories that describe individuals as pushed by historical forces. In psychology (my field, and Pinker's), when Watson launched behaviorism (which describes behavior as the result of conditioning due to environmental factors) as a major movement in the field, he wrote that there was definitely no genetic influence on ability. To suggest otherwise was to fall into a conservative error, a holdover from the aristocratic notion of natural superiors. When Skinner took Watson's place as the voice of behaviorism, he explicitly wedded it to progressivism, arguing that any notion of innateness or internal causation (or even of personal moral responsibility) was a reactionary throwback to religious moralizing and the notion of a soul.

Part of this harmonized with the optimism of progressive politics. If there is no innateness, then all humanity's problems are due to harmful social conditions. If we have the power to engineer new social conditions, then there is no limit to our ability to perfect the human condition. When researchers began exploring genetic or evolutionary explanations for behavior, it was not right-wingers, but left-wingers, who organized protests on campuses, chanting about how the universities must throw out the "fascist nazi pigs" who threatened progress toward a better world.
 
2014-02-15 08:26:29 AM  

Son of Thunder: a particular individual: Fark_Guy_Rob: For the record, I'm one of those who was told the Earth goes around the Sun.  So I memorized it.  It has proved to be completely useless information for me.  Never once was I like, 'No wait!  The Earth goes around the Sun, so I need to turn Left here and not Right'.  Outside of some specific career paths, it's just useless trivia.

You personally don't apply that knowledge, but you benefit from it every day. Knowledge of how the solar system works is essential for making GPS systems, which tell you "Turn left."

If I say " I turn left because I know where I'm going. I don't own a GPS", does that me sound like a posturing hipster or a grumpy old man?


Just predictable. After I posted that, I realized I should have made it third-person instead of second.
 
2014-02-15 08:30:05 AM  
It's more likely that a quarter of the survey participants misread the question.   This is why any serious survey has multiple questions for each question.  Unless the polling was conducted outside of a bar,  that would explain it as well.
 
2014-02-15 08:33:54 AM  
In other unrelated news, recent study finds that a large percentage of people tend to fill in bullshiat troll answers on surveys.  More at 11.
 
2014-02-15 08:36:30 AM  

VendorXeno: To you, all of this can be buried under political dualism because you're ignorant, but to the educated and intelligent, there is no dualism. There are thousands of factions, worldwide, easily able to recognize, employ and apply science, and then there's a small handful of blind idiots rejecting all of it for lunacy like creationism. These people don't represent political dualism, they represent a war on reality.


Your rant is pretty hard to follow but my argument is that a goodly number of people in this country and others are simply uninformed and uneducated.  There is no political or religious agenda behind it, there is not malice toward any idea or not, simply ignorance.  I don't have a survey to back that up.  Just a lot of experience with a lot of people from every socioeconomic level and every educational background.  There is a pretty large contingent of Americans for whom time in school was pretty much a waste.  A good many of those people appear to be normal.  They walk the streets, shop in the malls, have jobs or not, have kids or not, get married or not, attend church or not, vote - they seem just like everyone else but they are practically illiterate.

Yes, there are people who practice what you refer to as a war on reality.  But that is a pretty small percentage. Probably about the same percentage as people who believe they know all the answers, have discovered all possible wisdom, and should run the world as a result of their superiority.  Which do you suppose is more destructive to society?
 
2014-02-15 08:43:30 AM  
Mr. Right: "Your rant is pretty hard to follow but my argument is that a goodly number of people in this country and others are simply uninformed and uneducated.  There is no political or religious agenda behind it, there is not malice toward any idea or not, simply ignorance."

"I know that it makes a lot of people feel better about themselves to believe that the opposite of their political spectrum houses all the idiots and that their party is filled with wisdom but would it occur to any of you to look back in your High School class and recognize that a good many of those kids simply never paid enough attention to learn any of what you may consider basic knowledge?  "


See how you contradict yourself? At once you're claiming it's political, then not political. Those are both your quotes. 

Meanwhile, no, my "rant" isn't hard to follow. Anti-science comes aggressively from only one quarter. There's only one faction pushing creationism and insisting evolution is invalid. It's not equally distributed among the various social straights. That's simply ignorance or dishonesty.
 
2014-02-15 08:46:38 AM  

Copper Spork: Joak: Can you tell us what an evolution or climate change extremist looks like? I am worred I may be one and not even know it.

The climate change extremists are pretty easy to identify. They're the ones opposed to using nuclear power to solve the problem, because their goal is to make people "use less energy" and "change their lifestyles". They are also often found showing pictures of supposedly drowning polar bears, using the snow on Mount Fuji as an example of climate change, claiming that when the Arctic ice melts, sea levels will rise, and talking about "Gaia".


You're not a smart one, are ya?  You can admit it, it's okay.  We're all friends here.
 
2014-02-15 08:47:52 AM  

MBooda: Welcome to Louisiana.
[upload.wikimedia.org image 439x540]
/there are all kinds of creationists


had to . . .
i.imgur.com
 
2014-02-15 08:53:55 AM  
"It was all very well going on about pure logic and how the universe was ruled by logic and the harmony of numbers, but the plain fact of the matter was that the Disc was manifestly traversing space on the back of a giant turtle and the gods had a habit of going round to atheists' houses and smashing their windows."
 
2014-02-15 09:00:48 AM  

Fark_Guy_Rob: // For the record, I'm one of those who was told the Earth goes around the Sun. So I memorized it. It has proved to be completely useless information for me. Never once was I like, 'No wait! The Earth goes around the Sun, so I need to turn Left here and not Right'. Outside of some specific career paths, it's just useless trivia.


Fortunately there have been people throughout history that didn't have such a pragmatic outlook, which is why you're posting this on the Internet instead of scratching in the dirt with a stick for some grubs.
 
2014-02-15 09:01:16 AM  

Bungles: Given that the question didn't give "the solar-system's barycentric coordinates, chained to the Milky Way's barycentric coordinates, chained to the barycentric coordinates of the universe" as an option, THEY CAN ALL GO SUCK MY MANFLUTE.


I'll just leave this here.
 
2014-02-15 09:05:07 AM  
Common Core.
 
2014-02-15 09:06:37 AM  

Mr. Right: Which do you suppose is more destructive to society?


The war on reality people. Got any harder ones?
 
2014-02-15 09:08:29 AM  

Son of Thunder: Part of this harmonized with the optimism of progressive politics. If there is no innateness, then all humanity's problems are due to harmful social conditions. If we have the power to engineer new social conditions, then there is no limit to our ability to perfect the human condition. When researchers began exploring genetic or evolutionary explanations for behavior, it was not right-wingers, but left-wingers, who organized protests on campuses, chanting about how the universities must throw out the "fascist nazi pigs" who threatened progress toward a better world.



And they were right to do so. Although the left these days are firmly on the "nurture" side of the debate, that wasn't the case in the past. Before the war, biological determinism, scientific racism and eugenics were perfectly acceptable progressive positions. Then a chap named Hitler came along and made them all deeply unpopular. The post-war reaction against biological determinism in human and social sciences is due almost entirely to the actual Nazis. A lot of determinists today try to hide behind a claim of scientific neutrality and deny that there is a political aspect to their work, but they are at best fooling themselves. There is always a political aspect to studying people (and often animals) and good scientists ought to be aware of it, (O.E. Wilson claimed ignorance, Pinker is smarter and is trying to recast his position in a positive, almost progressive light). The other problem is that a lot of this evolutionary psychology is actually quite dubious science to begin with, that's been harshly criticised by scientists both for its assumptions and the paucity of useful results; it's great fodder for a certain sub-species of Neanderthal who want to justify backwards ideas about gender and sometimes even race and class by cloaking them in a supposedly neutral "scientific truth".

If you haven't already, I suggest you check out Stephen Jay Gould's "The Mismeasure of Man". He mainly talks about IQ testing, but he's brilliant unpicking the fallacies and assumptions that always seem to accompany biological determinism.
 
2014-02-15 09:10:20 AM  

Bungles: Given that the question didn't give "the solar-system's barycentric coordinates, chained to the Milky Way's barycentric coordinates, chained to the barycentric coordinates of the universe" as an option, THEY CAN ALL GO SUCK MY MANFLUTE.


God, thank you.  They're all idiots.
 
2014-02-15 09:13:37 AM  
But isn't it just where you set you reference point? I mean, if you set your refernce point at the sun and do all of your calculations from there, then, yes the Earth roates around them sun. But that doesn't reflect the oddball orbit of the moon then and how it always faces the earth.
 
2014-02-15 09:14:04 AM  
And ducks float  because they are made of wood.
 
2014-02-15 09:16:05 AM  

Lukeonia1: Prey4reign: The average IQ in the US is 98.  With a low score of 55 and a high score of 145, that puts the lowest 25% ranging between 55 and 78 which means that one in four Americans are either idiots or are channeling the spirits of 17th century Inquisitors.  That should adequately answer the question.

It's been a long time since Statistics class, but I'm pretty sure your math is wrong. Bell curves, how to they work??

However, that's not to say I disagree with your point.


Yeah, the wine reason the "average IQ" is 98? The testing is developed specifically to put the middle of the curve at 100. Under 70 is getting into bottom third or fifth percentile territory. 90,-110, 85-115, something like that is the true average fifty percent of the opinion.
 
2014-02-15 09:16:47 AM  

Prey4reign: The average IQ in the US is 98.  With a low score of 55 and a high score of 145, that puts the lowest 25% ranging between 55 and 78 which means that one in four Americans are either idiots or are channeling the spirits of 17th century Inquisitors.  That should adequately answer the question.


Mathematical distributions... How do they work?
 
2014-02-15 09:18:01 AM  

VendorXeno: Meanwhile, no, my "rant" isn't hard to follow. Anti-science comes aggressively from only one quarter. There's only one faction pushing creationism and insisting evolution is invalid. It's not equally distributed among the various social straights. That's simply ignorance or dishonesty.


You're trying too hard.  Creationists are a tiny goofy fraction, of a small fraction of a certain religion.  There's a lot of press because it's fun to mock them.  But they're hardly prevalent.  From what I've seen, they don't even hate science, they only hate evolution science, which is even weirder.

There are social conservatives, there are fiscal conservatives.  It's admittedly fun to demonize an entire political party based on the actions of the few extremists, but it's not wise to do so, for many reasons.

/Atheist here.
 
2014-02-15 09:24:06 AM  

Fubini: In the same survey, just 39 percent answered correctly (true) that "The universe began with a huge explosion"

Uh, but that's wrong. The most accurate model of the universe's early life starts out with the universe being physically small, and then rapidly expanding.


That's not what is being taught, though.  At least, if that is what is being taught today, that's not what was taught, and junior high science classes don't offer followup newsletters, so it's still good news at least.

/this new learning amazes me.  tell me again how sheep bladders can be used to prevent earthquakes
 
2014-02-15 09:27:22 AM  
how many teachers know that the earth revolves around the sun?
 
2014-02-15 09:28:35 AM  

Bad_Seed: Son of Thunder: Part of this harmonized with the optimism of progressive politics. If there is no innateness, then all humanity's problems are due to harmful social conditions. If we have the power to engineer new social conditions, then there is no limit to our ability to perfect the human condition. When researchers began exploring genetic or evolutionary explanations for behavior, it was not right-wingers, but left-wingers, who organized protests on campuses, chanting about how the universities must throw out the "fascist nazi pigs" who threatened progress toward a better world.


And they were right to do so. Although the left these days are firmly on the "nurture" side of the debate, that wasn't the case in the past. Before the war, biological determinism, scientific racism and eugenics were perfectly acceptable progressive positions. Then a chap named Hitler came along and made them all deeply unpopular. The post-war reaction against biological determinism in human and social sciences is due almost entirely to the actual Nazis. A lot of determinists today try to hide behind a claim of scientific neutrality and deny that there is a political aspect to their work, but they are at best fooling themselves. There is always a political aspect to studying people (and often animals) and good scientists ought to be aware of it, (O.E. Wilson claimed ignorance, Pinker is smarter and is trying to recast his position in a positive, almost progressive light). The other problem is that a lot of this evolutionary psychology is actually quite dubious science to begin with, that's been harshly criticised by scientists both for its assumptions and the paucity of useful results; it's great fodder for a certain sub-species of Neanderthal who want to justify backwards ideas about gender and sometimes even race and class by cloaking them in a supposedly neutral "scientific truth".

If you haven't already, I suggest you check out Stephen Jay Gould's "The Mismeasure of Man". He mainly talks about IQ testing, but he's brilliant unpicking the fallacies and assumptions that always seem to accompany biological determinism.


I have read The Mismeasure of Man and I am aware of the dangerous past that the "nature" side of this debate has. My take on issues like this is (if any of my students were here, they'd know what words are coming next) "it's complicated". My position as a psychologist is that "nature" and "nurture" interact in complex ways to influence behavior, and that our current agenda should be to try and understand the complexity instead of arguing for one side or the other as the whole truth. So I fully agree with much of what you said, with the exception of "they were right to do so". The best response to science that contradicts my politics is more science, not organizing hordes of chanting liberal-arts undergrads.
 
2014-02-15 09:33:31 AM  

a particular individual: Good article, but I farking hate sentences like this


Yup. That one looks like it was run through the New York Times' word/food processor, and ladled onto the page.
 
2014-02-15 09:34:29 AM  
Lenny_da_Hog:

It's why dumbkins get so violent when you contradict them on factual issues. You're not insulting their intellect, you're insulting their mothers.

Well, they shouldn't take it so personally that their mothers were dumb.
 
2014-02-15 09:38:10 AM  

a particular individual: Fark_Guy_Rob: For the record, I'm one of those who was told the Earth goes around the Sun.  So I memorized it.  It has proved to be completely useless information for me.  Never once was I like, 'No wait!  The Earth goes around the Sun, so I need to turn Left here and not Right'.  Outside of some specific career paths, it's just useless trivia.

You personally don't apply that knowledge, but you benefit from it every day. Knowledge of how the solar system works is essential for making GPS systems, which tell you "Turn left."


Your losing me here.  What does a system of satellites orbiting the earth have to do with the solar system..
 
2014-02-15 09:38:12 AM  
i.imgur.com
 
2014-02-15 09:40:31 AM  

Mr. Right: One book that stands out in my mind to this day was a book titled Time.  Don't remember the author or publisher but it was a relatively small book with a fair number of pictures aimed at elementary readers.


Out of curiosity I did a quick search, but there are a lot of juvenile books called Time.

img.fark.net
 
2014-02-15 09:47:27 AM  
Poll - 1 in 4 Americans don't take polls seriously.
 
2014-02-15 09:47:49 AM  

Son of Thunder: So I fully agree with much of what you said, with the exception of "they were right to do so". The best response to science that contradicts my politics is more science, not organizing hordes of chanting liberal-arts undergrads.


Now, I'm no anti-Truth post-modernist, or anything, but I think that position is naive. Science is done by real people in a certain cultural context and you can never fully escape that. You're exceedingly unlikely to change underlying assumptions by doing "more science", as "normal science" (in the Kuhnian sense) doesn't like to question those. It wasn't science that banished ugly theories from pre-war social science, but a political and moral reaction. You might not like "liberal-arts undergrads" on the doorstep of your department, but in cases like this the stakes are too high to simply wait until you and your colleagues come up with some internal critique which allows everyone to go back to ignoring difficult political questions.
 
2014-02-15 09:48:02 AM  

Solid State Vittles: Book lurning is for librals. I wasn't evolutioned from some farking munkey you idiots.


And yet democrats received the largest amount of votes from those without a high school education. Liberals always conveniently ignore this point.
 
2014-02-15 09:49:54 AM  

Prey4reign: The average IQ in the US is 98.  With a low score of 55 and a high score of 145, that puts the lowest 25% ranging between 55 and 78


You believe the distribution graph is a straight line?
 
2014-02-15 09:51:20 AM  
Thanks Obama!
 
2014-02-15 09:54:39 AM  
Came for pics of said elephants and turtle, leaving disappointed :(
 
2014-02-15 09:56:20 AM  

Bad_Seed: Now, I'm no anti-Truth post-modernist, or anything, but I think that position is naive. Science is done by real people in a certain cultural context and you can never fully escape that.


Sokal said something similar.
 
2014-02-15 09:56:35 AM  
Obviously it's the teachers' fault.  They're not worth what we're paying them.

Cut their funding!
 
2014-02-15 09:56:55 AM  

gameshowhost: Well, how many people voted for a Tea Party candidate?  Say that represents ~20% of the number who believe in the elephant thing.  Then add in Kansas.  About 60% of the South... 

Jesus Christ, something like 60m Americans believe that.


When I think too dumb to know the earth revolves around the sun I generally think hipster guy with tats and gauges and dumb girl that's like totally not worried about like that smart people stuff (and I associate those people with being liberal voters), and honey boo boo's mom (definitely conservative voting but that's cause Jesus told me too). I definitely don't associate the honey boo boo mouth breather type with being interested in concepts like taxation being an inhibitor to job growth

Where does this perception come from that Tea Partiers are these cold calculating evil people who think the poors should be more bootstrappy and the government redistributes too much of our money, yet at the same time they can't understand basic concepts like gravity?

When have you ever come across that person in real life?

Or were you just being snarky because you don't like them? (Not very progressive of you by the way. Do you think they should be more bootstrappy about their ignorance?)
 
2014-02-15 09:58:59 AM  

zimbomba63: a particular individual: Fark_Guy_Rob: For the record, I'm one of those who was told the Earth goes around the Sun.  So I memorized it.  It has proved to be completely useless information for me.  Never once was I like, 'No wait!  The Earth goes around the Sun, so I need to turn Left here and not Right'.  Outside of some specific career paths, it's just useless trivia.

You personally don't apply that knowledge, but you benefit from it every day. Knowledge of how the solar system works is essential for making GPS systems, which tell you "Turn left."

Your losing me here.  What does a system of satellites orbiting the earth have to do with the solar system..


They obey the same laws of physics that describe planets orbiting the sun.
 
2014-02-15 10:00:33 AM  
Why does it seem more reasonable that a quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion tons of hydrogen comes out of nowhere than a magic genie sky wizard comes out of nowhere?

Could it be because I could buy hydrogen in a pressurised cylinder if I wanted to?
 
2014-02-15 10:09:02 AM  

MyRandomName: Solid State Vittles: Book lurning is for librals. I wasn't evolutioned from some farking munkey you idiots.

And yet democrats received the largest amount of votes from those without a high school education. Liberals always conveniently ignore this point.


SSSSHHHH!  Don't mention that.  Just remember, "they're all above average, every last one of them", and you won't have any trouble around here.  Anyway, since they don't like the result, that survey is highly flawed and should be disregarded out of hand, otherwise, you are fascist, racist, homophobe, sexist,....
 
2014-02-15 10:14:02 AM  

Copper Spork: kidgenius: It's not so much that there is a correlation between intelligence and political affiliation, but that people with certain political leanings appear to be actively hostile toward education in general, not to mention science.

Right. Try telling lefties that some groups of people are genetically predisposed to be more intelligent than others, and wait for the witch hunt.


Oh, you should be at the table when I suggest that certain population segments are really on the same curve as whites, but we so broke their cultural arraingments that the brightest over there starts with a ten point gap due to being exposed to a different memetic load in childhood.

Basically, if you start them reading at age 3-4 and give them a load of NatGeo kids books they'll test like a white suburban kid by fifth grade.
 
2014-02-15 10:15:16 AM  
To all those who defend the ignorant by claiming that not knowing that the Earth rotates around the sun comes from being distracted on that one day when it was taught in class, I say BS.

IMO, it actually comes out of a complete lack of intellectual curiosity. It comes from not reading.  It comes from never watching documentaries. It comes from hanging around with people who are just as intellectually deprived as they are. It comes, in short, from being willfully ignorant about the world.

And IMO there is no valid excuse for this.
 
2014-02-15 10:18:17 AM  

wildcardjack: Oh, you should be at the table when I suggest that certain population segments are really on the same curve as whites, but we so broke their cultural arraingments that the brightest over there starts with a ten point gap due to being exposed to a different memetic load in childhood.


That argument stopped working when affirmative action didn't fix things.
 
2014-02-15 10:20:13 AM  

revrendjim: zimbomba63: a particular individual: Fark_Guy_Rob: For the record, I'm one of those who was told the Earth goes around the Sun.  So I memorized it.  It has proved to be completely useless information for me.  Never once was I like, 'No wait!  The Earth goes around the Sun, so I need to turn Left here and not Right'.  Outside of some specific career paths, it's just useless trivia.

You personally don't apply that knowledge, but you benefit from it every day. Knowledge of how the solar system works is essential for making GPS systems, which tell you "Turn left."

Your losing me here.  What does a system of satellites orbiting the earth have to do with the solar system..

They obey the same laws of physics that describe planets orbiting the sun.


Oh, your using it as a example of orbital mechanics. Because, I was going to say the GPS system would work the same way, whether the Earth orbits the Sun or if the Sun and planets simply disappeared.
 
2014-02-15 10:20:51 AM  

Prey4reign: The average IQ in the US is 98.  With a low score of 55 and a high score of 145, that puts the lowest 25% ranging between 55 and 78 which means that one in four Americans are either idiots or are channeling the spirits of 17th century Inquisitors.  That should adequately answer the question.


2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-02-15 10:22:03 AM  
That's heresy! It's turtles all the way down...
 
2014-02-15 10:24:05 AM  
I think it's time to stop questioning American intelligence and start questioning the reliability of polling in America.
 
2014-02-15 10:25:49 AM  

GrizzlyPouch: gameshowhost: Well, how many people voted for a Tea Party candidate?  Say that represents ~20% of the number who believe in the elephant thing.  Then add in Kansas.  About 60% of the South... 

Jesus Christ, something like 60m Americans believe that.

When I think too dumb to know the earth revolves around the sun I generally think hipster guy with tats and gauges and dumb girl that's like totally not worried about like that smart people stuff (and I associate those people with being liberal voters), and honey boo boo's mom (definitely conservative voting but that's cause Jesus told me too). I definitely don't associate the honey boo boo mouth breather type with being interested in concepts like taxation being an inhibitor to job growth

Where does this perception come from that Tea Partiers are these cold calculating evil people who think the poors should be more bootstrappy and the government redistributes too much of our money, yet at the same time they can't understand basic concepts like gravity?

When have you ever come across that person in real life?

Or were you just being snarky because you don't like them? (Not very progressive of you by the way. Do you think they should be more bootstrappy about their ignorance?)


I live in a rural area of Oregon, less than an hour away from Portland. I see both types regularly.

Out here in the sticks, there are the Tea Party rubes. The problem with them is they will fight and fight to keep other people from learning. They want enemies. Enemies make them powerful. They will refuse to admit they're wrong about anything and will just threaten you and call you stupid. As long as they have a friend to back them up, that is. They depend on denial and anger to maintain their beliefs.

The dumber hipster types you describe more or less believe in extra-reality -- they know extra things about the universe, like auras and fluoride and TM and contrails and urban farming being able to provide for everyone. If they get a petty fact like the earth's rotation and orbit wrong, they're not going to fight with you about it. They'll deflect -- "But dude!" They'll get mad and call you names if you deny their extra-real theories, but they'll either cave, deflect, or rationalize, rather than outright deny, well-explained concepts.
 
2014-02-15 10:38:58 AM  

Bad_Seed: Son of Thunder: So I fully agree with much of what you said, with the exception of "they were right to do so". The best response to science that contradicts my politics is more science, not organizing hordes of chanting liberal-arts undergrads.

Now, I'm no anti-Truth post-modernist, or anything, but I think that position is naive. Science is done by real people in a certain cultural context and you can never fully escape that. You're exceedingly unlikely to change underlying assumptions by doing "more science", as "normal science" (in the Kuhnian sense) doesn't like to question those. It wasn't science that banished ugly theories from pre-war social science, but a political and moral reaction. You might not like "liberal-arts undergrads" on the doorstep of your department, but in cases like this the stakes are too high to simply wait until you and your colleagues come up with some internal critique which allows everyone to go back to ignoring difficult political questions.


Holy poop. An accurate reference to Kuhn. This is starting to resemble an intelligent conversation. Makes it hard to snark at you. :(

The removal of scientific racism and eugenics was a good thing (I find it disheartening that some farkers have been advocating a return to old-school eugenics in some threads), but that does not mean that we should silence scientists who propose theories that clash with our politics. If we find, for example, that there are such things as certain biologically-based psychological gender differences, this does not justify excluding people from careers (women tend to outperform men on verbal tasks, therefore men shouldn't be writers), but on the other hand I will not throw all that research away just because a Gender Studies major yelled "patriarchy" in my face. If someone wants me to deny climate change, show me data, don't just tell me that the theory of anthropogenic climate change is "anti-capitalism".

Your position also assumes that truth is on the side of the chanting horde. In some cases, maybe, but history shows us far too many chanting hordes on the wrong sides of issues to support that assumption.
 
2014-02-15 10:39:06 AM  
1/4 of all Americans live in Kansas?
 
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  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

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