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Blinded me with science

 
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Old 25-Feb-2011, 02:35 AM (02:35)     1        42858
alicat
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Default Blinded me with science

Til the past few hundred years, most people were illiterate and access to books, including religious texts, was scarce. The experts, who often were religious leaders, told people what to do. The average person did not have frame of reference or knowledge base to question it.

Now, almost anyone can read and come up with their own interpretation of religious sources, we have material to debate with experts. The average person has more difficulty with advanced math and science. Most people do not understand quantum mechanics or molecular biology. They accept what the experts say and have no frame of reference or knowledge base to question it.
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Old 25-Feb-2011, 03:57 AM (03:57)     2        42859
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I sense an "and that's why...", there...

My forum senze, it's tinglin'.
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Old 27-Feb-2011, 04:18 PM (16:18)     3        42865
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There are so many things wrong with that comparison. The most glaring is that, unlike religious leaders in pre-literate days, scientists spend a good amount of time and money educating the general public. There are whole institutions devoted to the service (science museums).
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Old 27-Feb-2011, 06:27 PM (18:27)     4        42866
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Except a great many scientists and medical doctors are useless at explaining/promoting good science and medicine. A couple are simply egotistical bullies and enormously counter-productive.

I concentrate very much on building links with science and med bloggers; some are very, very, very good (e.g. Ed Yong, BoraZ, Josh Rosenau), others are claimed to be good but have real problems and overall suck (e.g. PZ Myers), others simply stink (e.g. PalMD, Jerry Coyne).

One passion of my own is neurology and psychiatry; and the number of truly excellent bloggers in those two fields can be counted on the fingers of one mutilated hand.

I can recommend fillowing my own weekly blogs round-up for a good introduction into sci/med blogs; and then BoraZ, Ed Yong, Josh Rosenau, and Emily Anthes (Wonderland) for futher compilations.
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Old 27-Feb-2011, 06:36 PM (18:36)     5        42867
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and I just have to add this:


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Old 27-Feb-2011, 07:12 PM (19:12)     6        42868
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True, but there's a world of difference between being bad at explaining something and hiding it. I might be spoiled by the pretty awesome science museums my parents took me to when I was a kid. I was thinking more in terms of public education and education targeted at the general public (Nova, etc.). I grew up watching science shows for kids on public television, which is why I'm pissed as hell that the Repubs are trying to end federal funding for it.
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Old 27-Feb-2011, 07:42 PM (19:42)     7        42869
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homo hirsutus View Post
... which is why I'm pissed as hell that the Repubs are trying to end federal funding for it.
Ah, that. Yes. Different story. And a long story; the Republican / Tea Party war on science is pretty nasty indeed and ongoing.
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Old 28-Feb-2011, 04:32 AM (04:32)     8        42870
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To me it just felt like an incomplete thought.
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Old 02-Mar-2011, 11:39 PM (23:39)     9        42889
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I might point out that, in the U.S. anyway:
1. It is often a second tier that tries to use their knowledge of science to push their agenda. (It can be in the first tier, also, as I witnessed in the past, but not usually.)
2. Our grant money machines often force good scientists to play games and speak about things that they know they don't know. The papers pick that up and it sounds mystical.
3. Some things are hard to learn, but much of that can be overcome by hard work. The average American person isn't always confronted with difficult studies. My own sons are still very happy that I taught them history because I forced them to write clearly, fully, and from copies of original documents. They didn't like it when they had to do it, though.
4. Information overload is only in the details. The general outlines can be learned if one picks up the math.

So you can figure out relativity easily enough (I was taught it when 17). I might add that quantum mechanics is not "understood," but one can still do the math and get the right answers, which are counter-intuitive to our view of the world.

(Interesting story idea. Creatures of the quantum trying to understand our world. Flatland quanta?)

Molecular biology isn't all that difficult once one has a bit of organic chemistry. It is just a lot of information that no one can absorb, but one can understand as it goes by. Most chemists are so specialized that another field of chemistry is magic to them. Yet, they have enough mental tools to understand in general what is happening in other fields.

I might add that the myth of complete mind control during the middle ages is just that. A myth. There were many ways around it and quite a few were able to get good theological information from a friendly monk or whatever. (especially if one wasn't on serf level.) But if one wanted to merely eat, drink, and be married, that option was pretty easy and many choose to go that route. Same thing today. If you really want to know what is going on, you need to do some hard work on your own. The good news is that you can.
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Old 17-Mar-2011, 12:50 AM (00:50)     10        43000
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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118972683557627104.html

thanks for blogs and Thomas Dolby!
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