30 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 The Danger of Dumbing Down Science

'Dumbing down' is a very different kind of threat to scientific sensibility. The 'Public Understanding of Science' movement, provoked in America by the Soviet Union's triumphant entry into the space race and driven today, at least in Britain, by public alarm over a decline in applications for science places at universities, is going demotic. 'Science Weeks' and 'Science Fortnights' betray an anxiety among scientists to be loved. Funny hats and larky voices proclaim that science is fun, fun, f...
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08 NOV 2013 by ideonexus

 Economics Uses Magical Language

A common feature in systems of magic is animism — attributing to inanimate objects the functions of life, assuming things to possess will, purpose, and power. It is significant (though quite in keeping) that "Economists" and "Financiers" have this characteristic at- titude of mind towards, and employ animistic forms of expression in writing and talking about "Money" and "Capital." Whether this is due to unconscious belief in magic or is mere metaphor, the result, in either case, is befo...
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It's use of animism in describing the economy is suspect, but the same metaphors are used in real science as well.

15 SEP 2013 by ideonexus

 Bill Nye the Science Guy Show: "Rules"

Bill Nye the Science Guy Show: "Rules" Objective: Change the world. Produce a TV show that gets kids and adults excited about science, so that the United States will again be the world leader in technology, innovation, and sound management of the environment. For example, when our audience is of age, we'd like them to produce the best transportation systems in the world, e.g. cars, electric cars, trains, and aircraft. Rules of the Road - The show is entertainment first; curriculum conten...
Folksonomies: science entertainment
Folksonomies: science entertainment
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Could be summed up as "Keep it real."

16 MAY 2012 by ideonexus

 If We Knew the Outcome of a War, There Would be No Need t...

The determining cause of most wars in the past has been, and probably will be of all wars in the future, the uncertainty of the result; war is acknowledged to be a challenge to the Unknown, it is often spoken of as an appeal to the God of Battles. The province of science is to foretell; this is true of every department of science. And the time must come—how soon we do not know—when the real science of war, something quite different from the application of science to the means of war, will...
Folksonomies: statistics war chaos theory
Folksonomies: statistics war chaos theory

Quote from Sir Michael Foster Times Literary Supplement, 28 Nov 1902, 353-4.

01 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 Two Examples of Leaping to Conclusions without the Facts

Let me give you two examples of leaping to conclusions without the full facts. Back in the 1890’s, a certain California newspaper was apprehensive about the harmful effects the railroads would have on the environment. If the trains crossed the Mojave to get to the Pacific, this newspaper editorialized, “the huge iron rails will reverse the Earth’s magnetic field with catastrophic effects.” Now that’s real science! One hundred forty years ago, the Royal Society in England warned agai...
Folksonomies: facts prescience error
Folksonomies: facts prescience error
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People, even scientists, thought the train would come apart and asphyxiate its passengers at speeds of 35 MPH, and the rocket was disregarded by the military until the Germans adopted it.

04 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 More Exciting Than the Supernatural

And yet there's so much in real science that's equally exciting, more mysterious, a greater intellectual challenge - as well as being a lot closer to the truth. Did he know about the molecular building blocks of life sitting out there in the cold, tenuous gas between the stars? Had he heard of the footprints of our ancestors found in 4-million-year-old volcanic ash? What about the raising of the Himalayas when India went crashing into Asia? Or how viruses, built like hypodermic syringes, slip...
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There are wonders in science far more amazing than the ideas presented in superstition.

06 APR 2011 by ideonexus

 Intellectual Quackery in Academia

Intellectual quackery extends throughout the landscape of academia; tenured professors in the humanities and social sciences, on the right and left, are constantly purveying theories that are the philosophical, literary, and artistic equivalents of junk science. That many of the researchers consider themselves intellectuals is sad but unremarkable in the annals of quackery withing academia: junk thought with an intellectual patina fosters anti-intellectualism as effectively as junk science wi...
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This is the worst form of junk-thought, because it comes from a source the public considers reliable, the Colleges and Universities.