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The downward spiral of American intelligence continues - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
The downward spiral of American intelligence continues
After reading about Kansas's continuing to make a mockery of science, I came across an article today in which I learned that not one corporate sponsor stepped forward to support the American Museum of Natural History's "Darwin" exhibit. The entire $3 million display had to be funded by private interests.

I mean, c'mon. Pharmaceutical companies and agribusinesses that rely on evolutionary biology to further their business are terrified of pissing off the anti-science know-nothings in our midst? They want there to be no next generation of great scientists? What's wrong with these people?

I mean, contrast this with the Creation Museum in Ohio, run by Ken Hamm, aka "Dr. Dino." This is the guy who's going around the country buying up all the cheap roadside dinosaur exhibits and relabling them with biblical quotes. His campaign to do this is called "We're taking the dinosaurs back," and it has raised $7 million in the past year.

That's just sick.

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Current Mood: annoyed annoyed
Current Music: Mike Oldfield, Incantations

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acelightning From: acelightning Date: November 23rd, 2005 08:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Come to New York before 29 May 2006. Bring your children, of course - the Museum (which also includes the Hayden Planetarium/Rose Space Center) has always emphasized educating children by making science and nature irresistibly fascinating. It was always my favorite school field trip when I was a kid - every year, they'd bus us to the city, thirty miles away, to the Museum and Planetarium. (My gods, I've been loving that place for fifty years!)
abostick59 From: abostick59 Date: November 23rd, 2005 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
On the face of it it looks like cause for concern, but before I leapt to conclusions, I'd like to know the answer to these questions:

Is the $7 million that Hamm has raised from corporate contributions, or individuals (i.e. "private interests")?

How much, on average, do corporations support exhibits at the AMNH? Is the absence of sponsorship typical or unusual?
From: patsyterrell Date: November 24th, 2005 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)
So much about the situation is sick. I live in Kansas, but I doubt I will ever think of myself as a "Kansan" because of these sorts of stupid antics like thinking intelligent design is in any way related to science.
_candide_ From: _candide_ Date: November 24th, 2005 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, science in this country is already in its death-throes.

After Wen-Ho Lee, after US foreign policy of the 1st decade of the 21st century, scientists from outside the US will, when presented with a choice, go to another country.

Those dwindling numbers of Americans interested in science aren't going all the way through and getting doctorates, or staying in academia. The pay is poor, the hours ridiculously long, and the environment is abusive.

And having to deal with students who question the veracity of the data ... never mind the reviewed, tested models based on that data ... and making those questions due to religiosity-based brainwashing? No thanks. The few still interested in science and with a passion for educating will walk away in disgust. [That's already happening, in fact. It will only increase.]

Government funding for everything but military research has been cut. Industry has slaughtered its research departments, leaving only de-facto patent-churning-departments.

No. It's already over. Science in the USA is running on momentum and fumes.
From: neowolf2 Date: November 24th, 2005 10:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, not to defend ID, but questioning the veracity of data is something good scientists do all the time, especially the scientist who is collecting the data. Experimental artifacts (that is, data that reflects a flaw in the experimental setup rather than what you're intending to measure) are distressingly common.
_candide_ From: _candide_ Date: November 28th, 2005 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, not to defend ID, but questioning the veracity of data is something good scientists do all the time,
Errm... no. And I state this with the authority of my PhD in Physics. We question the accuracy of some of the data. We question their apparatus, and take more measurements.
But researchers don't question the truthfulness of the data. Because, see, that's accusing the experimenter of lying, of out-and-out fraud. Accusing a fellow scientist is attacking her career, and not done lightly or without major cause.
Note that I don't include questioning the veracity of one's own data, because that's equivalent to accusing yourself of lying. If you operated the mass-spectrometer, and you read a measurement of 30.8% U-235 and 68.8% Pb-207, then that's what you measured. And, being a scientist, this wasn't your only measurement; you'll make others to ensure you didn't make any mistakes.
But that's not questioning your own honesty, or questioning whether you hallucinated taht 30.8%. That's just questioning your machines. Or admitting to being a flawed human. Which is why you measure several times.
If you did everything correctly, and you report clearly all that you did, your colleagues at the appropriate academic journal publish it. If they can't tell whether or not you did everything correctly, they reject it, asking you for More Explanation Please. If you can't provide those details, or it looks at all like you were sloppy, they just don't publish it. Again, no questioning of the veracity of the data, only its accuracy.
That, right there, is the crux of the problem: scientists don't question the data. If the data looks "weird," they question the tools. They take another measurement, or another 100. If that data says the same thing, they question their assumptions. They change their view to fit the facts.

They don't try to change the facts to fit their views. Which is precisely what the ID-crowd is doing.
tagryn From: tagryn Date: November 24th, 2005 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Was any of that $7 million from corporate sponsors? If so, who were they?
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 23rd, 2007 08:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sick?

Mike, I tihnk what's sick is how the debunking of evolution hasn't reached your desk yet. So here you are, all pissed off, hurling insults at people on a topic you'v gotten 180 degrees wrong.

Even Darwin presented doubts aobut his "theories". Seemt hat not only do you not know anthing about creation, you don't even knopw much about evolution either.

I take it then that you're pissed off just because... well.. for no particular reason. Or do you intend now to actually make a cearful and honest study of this topic?

I warn you, you may have to admit you were wrong. Could you handle that?
elfs From: elfs Date: February 24th, 2007 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sick?

Yes, sick. Evolution certainly hasn't been "debunked"; if anything, it continues to be robust and reliable, without a serious challenge to it. There isn't a pharmaceutical company in the world that uses any other assumptions than those given by the post-Darwinian synthesis, which is what you get when you combine Darwin's basic theory with a knowledge of genetics. Darwin had doubts because he didn't know the mechanism of heritability, he got hundreds of details wrong, but he got two right: descent from a common ancestor, and the mechanism of selection. For those two alone, he is honored. Newton got thousands of details of chemistry wrong (he was an alchemical hack), but for his work in physics and mathematics, we remember him too.

If our country turns its back on evolutionary theory, we'll be giving up our position as the country on the vanguard of research into biology. We've led in physics, chemistry, and cybernetics; the 21st century will be the century of biology, of the brain, and of our understanding of life itself. There has not been, and is not now, single fruitful biological research program that uses as it premise anything other than evolutionary biology. I'm not happy to see my country flirt with its own destruction.
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