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Journal of No. 118

August 20th, 2012

Source analysis @ 08:07 pm

Yes, yes, Todd Akin said something incredibly stupid and factually wrong.

But a more fundamental problem that's cancerously eating away at rational debate in our society is that there are organizations explicitly designed to spout crap that agrees with your personal biases. And the well-established principle of confirmation bias shows that people tend to believe things that agree with their positions (and discount conflicting information).

The firehose of information that is the internet is great. If used correctly. Sadly, it also enables people who only want to confirm their own biases rather than evaluate the evidence.

#1: this goes for everybody, regardless of position. So nobody gets to be smug without doing his or her homework.

#2: if you think it's funny when people think the universe is 6,000 years old, it may seem less funny when people, like Paul Ryan, disregard climate science because it's inconvenient for the almighty dollar, or, like Todd Akin, disregard junior high health class because it's inconvenient for his position on abortion.

Education has failed in a very serious way to convey the most important lesson science can teach: skepticism.
David Suzuki
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Date:August 21st, 2012 03:40 am (UTC)

climate science

I actually kind of wish there would be more discussion of economics in the climate change so people could make more informed decisions. For instance, if you're completely self-interested, and you're 60 years old, any discussion of climate change is probably meaningless to you. But I also think there are lots of economic consequences of permitting/worsening climate change even in the relatively near-term
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Date:August 21st, 2012 04:20 am (UTC)
I immediately looked up the quote in context to make sure he really said that. My jaw is still in my lap.

But I'm not at all surprised in a way. Evangelical batshittery is epic. They will sweep aside huge dunes of data to get to their desired conclusions. I understand why someone would take the stance that life is life is life (to your point about the spectrum and so forth) and conclude that they therefore don't want an abortion or think it's wrong. But that can be a personal belief without warping the shit out of scientific fact to shore up that belief.

Edited at 2012-08-21 04:21 am (UTC)
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Date:August 21st, 2012 07:17 am (UTC)
Science teaching...in the South?

For that matter education in an area where the politicians are on record as being against critical thinking, and where the population appears to regard intellectual endeavour as suspect in and of itself.

Don't you just love the American Taliban.

My confirmation biases are all maxed-out at present.

Journal of No. 118