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Why do U.S. conservatives seem to be anti-science?

#1 User is offline   Maurreen Icon

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 02:40 AM

Why do U.S. conservatives seem to be anti-science?

"Anti-science" might not be the best phrase, but you get the idea.

This isn't just about climate change but also evolution. And I think I've read that science tends to get proportionally less federal funds in conservative administrations.

This is not intended to be a left-vs.-right discussion. I consider myself neither.
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 02:55 AM

[quote name='Maurreen' date='21 December 2011 - 11:40 PM' timestamp='1324539655' post='564846']
Why do U.S. conservatives seem to be anti-science?

"Anti-science" might not be the best phrase, but you get the idea.

This isn't just about climate change but also evolution. And I think I've read that science tends to get proportionally less federal funds in conservative administrations.

This is not intended to be a left-vs.-right discussion. I consider myself neither. Oh really!!! This is not intended as a left/right discussion but you ask why Conservatives are anti-science. Which direction did you expect this to take?

[/quote
Why are US libersls abortionists? This is not intended to be a left v right discussion but I know that abortion factories tend to get a preponderance of federal funds in a liberal administration.

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 03:02 AM

View PostMaurreen, on 21 December 2011 - 11:40 PM, said:

Why do U.S. conservatives seem to be anti-science?

"Anti-science" might not be the best phrase, but you get the idea.

This isn't just about climate change but also evolution. And I think I've read that science tends to get proportionally less federal funds in conservative administrations.

This is not intended to be a left-vs.-right discussion. I consider myself neither.

You must be referring to the Bush administration denying funding for fetal farming. I happen to agree that my tax dollars should not be going to the science of aborting fetuses to obtain tissue matters to supposedly find cures for paralysis for example.

#4 User is offline   Maurreen Icon

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 03:18 AM

[quote name='bernabby' date='22 December 2011 - 02:55 AM' timestamp='1324540547' post='564849']

View PostMaurreen, on 21 December 2011 - 11:40 PM, said:

Why do U.S. conservatives seem to be anti-science?

"Anti-science" might not be the best phrase, but you get the idea.

This isn't just about climate change but also evolution. And I think I've read that science tends to get proportionally less federal funds in conservative administrations.

This is not intended to be a left-vs.-right discussion. I consider myself neither. Oh really!!! This is not intended as a left/right discussion but you ask why Conservatives are anti-science. Which direction did you expect this to take?

[/quote
Why are US libersls abortionists? This is not intended to be a left v right discussion but I know that abortion factories tend to get a preponderance of federal funds in a liberal administration.



1. I did use the word "seem."

2. A better analogy would be "Why do U.S. liberals seem to be anti-religion?"

3. I can imagine responses to my post that are logical and well-grounded and support a conservative view. I can imagine pro-conservative response based on reasoning instead of feeling. But your response is less than I had hoped for.

4. Whatever you say against liberals is irrelevant to my question. I'm not trying to change your mind. I'm trying to enlighten my own. If you believe that conservatives are no less supportive of science than liberals, it would help to show me that, to give examples regarding science, not abortion.
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:53 AM

There are actually many levels to conservatism and nothing is ever black and white. Shades of grey... shades of grey.

For the most part under Bush it was generally religious based objections to certain types of science. Stem cell research being the biggest objection and lots of funding was cut for that, however I think he did fund NASA fairly aggressively and had even started funneling money towards a manned Mars mission. I would also note that funding for science didn't suffer under Bush senior and Reagan. Well certain kinds of science anyway. It's multi faceted and more complex than that for sure.

Under the current administration stem cell research has resumed with some government funding I'm pretty sure and NASA has been cut back. As to abortion concerns that has absolutely nothing to do with science. In general conservatives run the gambit of smart fiscal responsibility in government to eliminating public schools and privatizing everything. Science becomes part of those cuts sometimes as well.


(I'm in no way expressing an opinion either way in my response)

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 09:43 AM

Hi Maurreen,

It is a good and fair question. I understand that that you don't mean that absolutely all conservatives are against absolutely all science... nothing is ever so absolute... unless you're talking vodka.

But, there has been quite a bit of research into cognitive dissonance and motivated reasoning... anyone can be guilty of it, and to some degree everyone is regarding certain subjects...

https://motherjones....s/descartes.pdf

https://motherjones....ic_consesus.pdf


"A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point."
Stanford University psychologist Leon Festinger


Festinger infiltrated a cult called the Seekers in 1954... they claim to have been told by aliens that the end of the world would come on December 21, 1954, and when it didn't happen, he studied how these cultists, so vested in their "prophecy" would react... then the cultists announced that their little cult had saved the world - they were so devout in their beliefs that the aliens decided not to end us or some such - in effect, their unswerving faith in the prophecy saved us all from the prophecy...

More recently, in terms of climate science, a former television weatherman turned self-proclaimed climate expert decided that the surface temperature records must be incorrect and the earth is not really warming - the scientists just don't know what they are doing. He organized a sort of grass-roots volunteer movement to go out and find these weather stations and photograph them and rate them for quality... he proclaimed triumphantly that he proved the US temperature record was nothing short of a total farce because they only rated like 70 of over 1200 stations as "good" or "best"... with such a small population of reliable stations, he concluded, it is obvious the temperature record is based on garbage...

... what he didn't understand is exactly how the scientists use the stations to calculate temperature anomalies, and how the statistics are conducted. So, a couple guys at NOAA took ONLY the 70 stations identified as "good" or "best" and plotted the temperature record against the entire set of over 1200 stations (including "crappy" and "less than crappy")... and they found no difference. Same answer.

http://www.ncdc.noaa...response-v2.pdf

But that didn't stop this weatherman... he still insisted there was no way it could be an accurate record. Then last year, Dr. Richard Muller organized the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study. Muller, a physicist of some fame (he authored "Physics for Future Presidents") was and still is something of a climate skeptic, and had recently leveled some pretty outrageous and borderline slanderous allegations against climate scientists. So, he wanted to get to the bottom of it; he would conduct his own independent analysis of the entire earth's surface station temperature data and show what is what. Our intrepid weatherman, confident that Dr. Muller would finally vindicate him and prove once and for all the temperature record is a bunch of made up and error-riddle hooey, announced...

“I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.”

Well, a few months ago, Muller's team released several papers on their analysis - confirming that the three major temperature records - NASA GISS, NOAA, and in the UK, the Hadley-CRUT - were correct... his team found the same answer. So... what of our weatherman? Is he now conceding defeat and accepting Muller's independent results?

Of course not. He's crying foul and chicanery... fraud and conspiracy... http://www.desmogblo...nge-their-minds

Of course, it can happen the other way, too. Recently the Obama adminstration ignored science in making a decision regarding the "Plan B" emergency contraception, as described here by Chris Mooney:

There is no other way to spin it: The Obama administration’s decision to ignore the FDA, and refuse to make Plan B emergency contraception (the “morning after” pill) available over the counter, is a clear and unequivocal case of politics interfering with science. And it is a particularly galling one because, as former FDA official Susan Wood points out, this is one of the key issues on which the last administration, that of George W. Bush, misused science. So there is every reason for the Obama administration to have known better, and to have done differently.


http://www.desmogblo...ermines-science

But... it really has been lopsided in recent years... as Chris Mooney observes:

I accused the author, Alex Berezow, of constructing a false equivalence between right and left wing science abuse. The latter does occur sometimes, and I’ve given many examples (ionizing radiation risks, vaccines, GMOs, etc). But it has relatively little mainstream influence today—and can hardly compare with the sweeping denial of huge bodies of knowledge (e.g., all climate science, all evolutionary science) that we see on the right.

Joe Romm also reposted my post and weighed in, further trashing Berezow’s weak argument, and particularly on the nuclear power front. Paul Raeburn also weighed in at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, noting Berezow’s conservative media connections.


http://www.desmogblo...ce-today-s-left


I'll close with one of my favorite quotes:

"What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires - desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence."

- Bertrand Russell, Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism, and Syndication


#7 User is offline   RLD Icon

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 11:24 AM

This portion sums it up nicely...
"The way the human mind works is that people who are strongly committed to a preexisting point of view that is central to their identities—and especially people who have built up elaborate arguments and rationalizations of that prior point of view—will be unable to let it go, often even in the face of direct factual refutation."
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 11:49 AM

If conservatives are seen to be anti-science these days, it may have something to do with the fact that the conservative base seems to be disproportionately right-wing and fundamentalist Christian.

Conservative administrations and legislators don't need to be fundamentalist Christians themselves to know who butters their bread at the voting booth. The courtship of the Christian vote, through the strategic adoption of a Christian values based Republican platform, has been the single most successful thing the Republican party has done in 50 years. Maybe their only successful strategy in terms of why they keep getting elected.

Quid pro quo, fundamentalist and evangelical Christians have given their support to the non-religious aspects of the conservative agenda - freer market principles, smaller government, and fiscal policies that advantage the wealthy.

As long as conservative legislators continue to fight against what these Christians view as social amoralism and anti-Christian policies, Christians will return the favor.

This relationship seems to now be so entwined, these Christians have actually incorporated these non-religious aspects of right wing politics into their own belief system.

It's becoming difficult to remember back to the days when evangelical Christianity took no political stand at all, when they were solely focused on the doctrines of their faith.
But as anyone can see, the melding of the two has created a very powerful and effective new mutation called Right Wing Christian Conservatism. There's little delineation now between what is preached from the RW Christian pulpit and what's promised from the RW Conservative podium.

This brand of conservatism is only anti-science when the science threatens or questions either the fundamentalist belief system or the right wing corporate agenda.

Bad science:

Environmental and climate change science and green energy research which threaten corporate energy giants.

The science of evolution, genetics, and medical stem cell research which threatens the religious belief system of RW Christianity.

Good science:

New weapons technology
New chemical agents
Fossil fuel extraction

Aside from this strange mutated group, conservatives are no more likely to be anti-science than anyone else.
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 12:00 PM

View Postbernabby, on 22 December 2011 - 03:02 AM, said:

You must be referring to the Bush administration denying funding for fetal farming. I happen to agree that my tax dollars should not be going to the science of aborting fetuses to obtain tissue matters to supposedly find cures for paralysis for example.


I'd like to hear more about this. I had no idea there were farms and factories aborting fetuses for stem cell research.

I'd heard quite a different story but I'm much more curious about yours.
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 12:46 PM

I'm a Christian, but I'm not sure I fit in one of the above 'boxes'. In my view, the republicans are as vigilant and closed minded on science, and global warming, and evolution etc. as the democrats are on pro-abortion and redefining marriage. They're both playing to their constituents. I hate them both which is why I can't bring myself to vote.
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 12:58 PM

View PostMaurreen, on 21 December 2011 - 11:40 PM, said:

Why do U.S. conservatives seem to be anti-science?

Because they're idiots who's constituents think in absolutes and abhor bell curves.
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 01:09 PM

I'm not a flag waver for either party and I can see both side of issues such as abortion and marriage.
Being closed minded on science is beyond my understanding.
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 03:14 PM

Maurreen, I'm not sure what your point is.



Quote

"A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point."


Depends on the person, though, don’t you think, as well as the way the facts and logic are presented? Cram something down someone's throat, and they will most likely choke it back up and spit it out. I just think this quote sells too many good people short to use as anything I would believe in.

Now for random thoughts-

I don't believe the questions "why are conservatives against science" and "why are liberals against religion" are equal counterparts. While I certainly see the relevance of religion, it is still, indeed, a matter of faith, and while a person’s faith can be rock-solid – it is still specific to that person. You can't force people into it, you can only invite them in.

Science, on the other hand, just is. The universe is exactly what the universe is at any point in time, and science is the endeavor to understand it, and to that end, I don’t know how anyone can be against science (Against what’s presented as the findings of science, or federal funding for all "science"? Well, that’s a different story). Science can be wrong until the truth is established, and erroneous findings of science can be irresponsibly presented – either honestly or dishonestly - to support a claim - or an agenda. And, no, this is not saying science and scientists are crooked. A bookkeeper can make an honest mistake that misstates income, or a bookkeeper can "cook the books" to hide income. Why can't that happen in science? I know - pure science settles for nothing short of the truth, but there are responsible and irresponsible people in all walks of life – those that are committed to truth, and those that manipulate findings for more self-serving purposes.

With climate change as an example – is it possible that a scientist could feel compelled to inflate the danger and engage fear mongering to get additional funding for their cause – a cause which may be nothing more than wanting to pay their rent or make a name for themselves? I couldn’t imagine someone not believing that can and does happen. We see this happen in everyday circumstances in life – people employing tactics to get what they want.

Speaking of climate control, Here's a question I always ponder. What caused the Ice Ages, and what caused the Ice Ages to end? Because the coming and going of Ice Ages seem like pretty drastic changes in climate, and I don't think humans were around to cause them, and I don't think nasty conservatives were around to neglect the problem.

My point is, I'm all for protecting the environment and doing our part. I'm just not for making it something it isn't and throwing a boatload of money after it when it seems very possible, if not likely, that it is largely beyond our control. And I do believe in fear mongering. Fear mongering is a real thing, as is doing things for the "advantageous" way people think it makes them appear, so I look at those things, too.


Quote

"What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires - desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence."


Yep, and we mix our own drinks, so the hangover is for us to contend with. But we are who we are, and we are going to go with our instincts and seek out the stimuli that work best for making us feel right and whole. Right minded people seek their own truth in a way that's best for them in their own time. As Bruce Greenwood (as JFK) said in Thirteen Days, there's something immoral about a man abandoning his own judgment. I say follow your instincts and hold onto your judgment until it hurts others or makes no sense to you, and I say give people time to come to their own conclusions.

I believe "fetal farming" is an expression.

#14 User is offline   Maurreen Icon

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 03:28 PM

View Postfeegis, on 22 December 2011 - 03:14 PM, said:

Maurreen, I'm not sure what your point is.


I'm not trying to make a point. I am seeking explanation.
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:54 PM

Quote

I'm not trying to make a point.


Excuse me......I don't understand where you see conservatives as being anti-science.

As for me, I don't see where conservatives are anti-science, and I don't see conservatives as disregarding science. Maybe on the fringes, but the fringes hold a lot of odd stances and positions, and we have to be careful not to see the fringes as the norms. I'm conservative (and Catholic, just to cover all the bases), and I love science, I am fascinated by it and I embrace it, as do many conservatives I know who share the fascination. In contrast, I know many liberals who couldn't care less about scientific findings, technological advancement, funding for programs, and if they come back with a scientific justification for a socially convenient solution to a jam in which they find themselves, well, I'm not going to suddenly be impressed.

But by conservatives being "anti-science", do you mean in the form of resistance to scientific findings, as in not wanting to see the truth science unearths, lest their whole existence as they know it crumble? Do you mean in not wanting to fund certain programs? I mean, I'm with bernabby, I don't want my tax dollars going to fund things with which I disagree. Stem cell research is a sticky one, I have to say, but why is there no room for moral questions within science?

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 05:05 PM

I have no idea whether there is a political divide between those interested in science and those who aren't.

I do know there is a perception over here (and there does seem to be a little - non-scientific! - anecdotal evidence to support it) that Americans have a tendency to distrust people who talk about science (or anything complex) and trust people who talk about religion. It can feel like a general science-scepticism. We kind of work the other way round. (though, let add that religious beliefs are fine - it's the talking about it we distrust).

However, as with all stereotypes, it can't be true of all Americans (in fact, I know it isn't), and news stories tend to support perceptions and preconceptions in these matters.

So.. all in all.. I don't know :)
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 05:39 PM

View Postfeegis, on 22 December 2011 - 04:54 PM, said:

why is there no room for moral questions within science?


As in, let's shut down the science of cloning to create limb and organ replacements because it may one day result in the replication of non-traditionally conceived humans? Individuals conceived without God in the mix?

And whose morality should dictate scientific research? Christian morality? Humanist morality? Science should be free to operate outside of moral constraints. The question of what to do and how to manage scientific discoveries should be the responsibility of the public through consensus.
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 06:03 PM

It will just get more so, as more kids in paleoconservative families are home-schooled by low-information parents. They come out of that knowing only the things that can be imparted by being one chapter ahead of your kid. This works for Spelling, Bible Studies, and pre-digested History, but not so well for Calculus or lab sciences. And some of the public school systems in low-income counties don't do much better by their kids.

When you try to use a peer-reviewed study to back up your point when arguing with a low-information person, he or she will very often come back with, "Oh. Science. You know those guys are always disagreeing with one another and changing their minds anyway." Which I usually take to mean "My eyes just glazed over, nerd."

I've worked on enough Defense Dept software contracts to know there are a lot of engineers and programmers who are extremely conservative politically, who also excelled in tech and science classes in school. Likewise, physicians, who need a track record of good grades in calculus, physics, chemistry and biology to get into medical school, tend to vote Republican. I think educated, prosperous conservatives aren't so hostile to science, though low-income and poorly schooled ones usually are.

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 06:24 PM

View PostRLD, on 23 December 2011 - 04:24 AM, said:

"The way the human mind works is that people who are strongly committed to a preexisting point of view that is central to their identities—and especially people who have built up elaborate arguments and rationalizations of that prior point of view—will be unable to let it go, often even in the face of direct factual refutation."

To the extent that we identify with our beliefs, we fear their being challenged. For those whose identification with their beliefs is very strong, this fear is very real indeed, as what is perceived to be threatened is one's actual "being" (which is, of course, a nonsense, but such is the nature of the egoic self). Of course, fear leads to various defence mechanisms such as anger, wilful ignorance (refusing to consider evidence contrary to one's beliefs with an open mind) and worse. Look at how irate many religious fundamentalists get at any hint of what they perceive as "blasphemy". A mere moment's reflection should suffice for a believer to recognise that's it's not for them to take offence on "God's" part. And, in fact, they're not. They're taking offence on their own part because their belief's (with which they identify) are perceived as to be under attack.

As Chris Mooney identifies in the quoted excerpt above, the more we build up our justifications for our beliefs (our defences), the more firmly entrenched they become.



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Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:02 PM

Quote

As in, let's shut down the science of cloning to create limb and organ replacements because it may one day result in the replication of non-traditionally conceived humans? Individuals conceived without God in the mix?

Yes - questions like that. Should those questions not be permitted? Should they receive no consideration? A question doesn't shut anything down, but it may keep you from getting flattened when you run into the street without looking.

What if people start cloning people to serve as servants? Stupid question? Well, look where technology has brought us. It just advances exponentially from here. Where will we be 50 years from now? Has technology ever been abused?

You present that question, and it's all packaged up nicely for an obvious answer. Does your question answer all the questions, though? Does it foresee all the ramifications involved with cloning? Is it all so cut and dried?

Let me put it this way - should anything go - anytime, anyway? Always?

How does animal testing go over? You sure do hear a lot of opposition to that, generally from the same people that are all for fetal stem-cell testing. Are there better ways and worse ways to go about that? Better and worse ways for preparing the meat we eat? If you say yes, well it's in asking the questions that find the better ways.

Those are the types of questions I'm talking about. But it seems the word "moral" snagged this discussion up. I'd say "questions by whoever asks the questions" is the moral involved. I'm my own barometer. If it doesn't feel right to me, I'm going to ask my questions. If I'm not satisfied with the answer, I weigh the trade-off and proceed accordingly. If I feel strongly enough to do so, I will take the fight as far as I can take it - maybe to the Supreme Court - and if it gets that far, then I would say it started with my moral basis, but meaning it has some merit to someone other than me. If my moral basis has no merit, it gets stopped sooner, maybe before it gets out of the gate.

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:24 PM

I think science raises a lot of ethical questions and agree that they do bear careful consideration. We should question these things, I think.

Of course, in any ethical debate, there will be alternative opinions. It helps if they are informed, alternative opinions. This is one of the reasons I think it is important that people have an interest in science and get to the facts. Uninformed opinions aren't helpful, normally.

A good understanding of ethics helps, too. Is this different from "morality"? Maybe. I tend to think of "morality" as more of a cultural concept.
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:48 PM

I think science needs better communicators, science writers who can bridge the information gap in a way that really puts over the broad strokes of concepts that lend themselves to confusion.

I remember a friend long ago was very keen on studying historiography, because he wanted to learn how to write history for non-historians. History texts can be almost impossible to slog through if you're not already steeped in the basics. But writers like HG Wells and Will & Ariel Durant did a lot to bridge the gap. Yes, inaccuracies and biases, but they built frameworks that made further reading easier to understand.

When a lay person looks through Scientific American, the stuff really seems pitched to people who are already keen on science. I think we need more writers who can make it interesting to people who aren't there yet. Like statistics can be deadly dry, but when Malcolm Gladwell interviews statisticians and sociologists and then writes a piece on trends, you feel like you get it in a way that matters. We need more of that, both pitched to children and to adults whose own fields have nothing to do with science.

When my children were small, I would have killed for a good book about how to talk to your kids about science. There are probably some good ones out there now. One chapter could be on electricity, one on weather, one on earthquakes, one on airplanes, etc., things they actually wonder and ask about. That way you'd be educating parents and thereby educating their children.

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:55 PM

View Postfeegis, on 22 December 2011 - 07:02 PM, said:

What if people start cloning people to serve as servants? Stupid question? Well, look where technology has brought us. It just advances exponentially from here. Where will we be 50 years from now? Has technology ever been abused?

Would you blame the science or would you blame those using it in this way? Should the science that revealed the power of the atom be blamed for it's use as a weapon? Should the 1st person who fashioned something round into a wheel be blamed for car accidents?

Quote

You present that question, and it's all packaged up nicely for an obvious answer. Does your question answer all the questions, though? Does it foresee all the ramifications involved with cloning? Is it all so cut and dried?

Let me put it this way - should anything go - anytime, anyway? Always?

You're under the impression that the scientific community is made up of robots who never consider the moral or ill-use implications of their research - that they need the guidance of the religious and the non-scientific community to advise them of these implications.

Not true, of course.

Quote

How does animal testing go over? You sure do hear a lot of opposition to that, generally from the same people that are all for fetal stem-cell testing. Are there better ways and worse ways to go about that? Better and worse ways for preparing the meat we eat? If you say yes, well it's in asking the questions that find the better ways.

Good point. I'm not generally for animal testing but I do my share of rationalizing. Things like growing a human ear or nose on the back of a rat so a burn victim can one day live a more normal life, is an example. I try to be reasonable about these things.

How is stem-cell research comparable to animal testing?
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 09:18 PM

View Postjonie, on 23 December 2011 - 12:55 PM, said:

I try to be reasonable about these things.
The question implicit in this, of course, is what constitutes, "reasonable"? :)

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 10:23 PM

View PostSimple Simon, on 22 December 2011 - 09:18 PM, said:

View Postjonie, on 23 December 2011 - 12:55 PM, said:

I try to be reasonable about these things.
The question implicit in this, of course, is what constitutes, "reasonable"? :)


It's subjective. You might not agree. :lol:
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 11:38 PM

View Postfeegis, on 22 December 2011 - 04:54 PM, said:

Quote

I'm not trying to make a point.


Excuse me......I don't understand where you see conservatives as being anti-science.

As for me, I don't see where conservatives are anti-science, and I don't see conservatives as disregarding science. Maybe on the fringes, but the fringes hold a lot of odd stances and positions, and we have to be careful not to see the fringes as the norms. I'm conservative (and Catholic, just to cover all the bases), and I love science, I am fascinated by it and I embrace it, as do many conservatives I know who share the fascination. In contrast, I know many liberals who couldn't care less about scientific findings, technological advancement, funding for programs, and if they come back with a scientific justification for a socially convenient solution to a jam in which they find themselves, well, I'm not going to suddenly be impressed.

But by conservatives being "anti-science", do you mean in the form of resistance to scientific findings, as in not wanting to see the truth science unearths, lest their whole existence as they know it crumble? Do you mean in not wanting to fund certain programs? I mean, I'm with bernabby, I don't want my tax dollars going to fund things with which I disagree. Stem cell research is a sticky one, I have to say, but why is there no room for moral questions within science?



i agree mostly with what you say here Feegis. Actually i'm sort of technically by default catholic too - but i got a buddy who says i ain't because i only been to church when they gave me a free lunch in the last twenty years...

And for absolute sure everybody should check what they hear about something apparently scientific. that is what i say. that is what potholer54 says - you hear something that seems important to you, seems sort of scientific - don't trust Fox News... don't think the NYT article is necessarily correct, CHECK THE SOURCES!!!! Think about what they are saying... wonder if they say "climate cassandras say (this) is going to happen"... doubt what they are saying if they say "some scientists say", and they can't or don't actually quote a specific expert scientist on that statement.

Mostly the popular media is crap on real science, IMHO... check the sources... question what they say.. use your brains... please...

i will think more about what you say... but regarding stem cell research - i want to live forever, so i don't care what anybody says... we need to fund to fund this... if some idiot punk doctor tells me someday that i am going to die from some thing that could have been fixed through stem cell research decades earlier, i will be p*ssed... and if i die as a result, i swear to bernabby's god that i will haunt you and all your descendents until the end of time!!!

B*stards!!! Screw everybody but me!!!

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 11:41 PM

Oh, wait... that was rather rude... i didn't mean literally to screw everyone who disagreed with me...

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 11:55 PM

I agree Gordon, I'll be pissed too if I or one of my loved ones develops, say Parkinson's disease, and the cure for it is still years away because someone back in 2010 had a moral objection to using embryonic stem cells.

As to your other point about doing our own research. Has there ever been another point in history when that could be done as easily as now? We are far from needing to rely on a single source for our information. Google anything and we're guaranteed to get over a million results - some in support of our opinion, some opposed to it and some, somewhere in the middle. Not all of it will be pertinent or reliable but weeding through it to obtain more knowledge about a subject is much easier than dealing with the Dewey decimal system.

So, with all this information at our fingertips, why do some continue to rely exclusively on a single source? It boggles my mind.
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 11:57 PM

View PostAlistair S, on 22 December 2011 - 05:05 PM, said:

I have no idea whether there is a political divide between those interested in science and those who aren't.

I do know there is a perception over here (and there does seem to be a little - non-scientific! - anecdotal evidence to support it) that Americans have a tendency to distrust people who talk about science (or anything complex) and trust people who talk about religion. It can feel like a general science-scepticism. We kind of work the other way round. (though, let add that religious beliefs are fine - it's the talking about it we distrust).

However, as with all stereotypes, it can't be true of all Americans (in fact, I know it isn't), and news stories tend to support perceptions and preconceptions in these matters.

So.. all in all.. I don't know :)


ugh... i'm an ugly american...

no but alistair, you are correct in your observations... the USA has been a country that has prospered historically because of our and technology and innovation - alarmingly we are starting to poll so strongly as denying science like evolution and climatology..

.. more importantly might be the lack of respect/acknowledgment of evolution... studies show repeatedly that groups that do not understand/believe in evolution lag behind groups that do in terms of science and technology - this is why china and india and other countries are kicking our butts in the usa... they understand/believe/accept basic science truths...

... and in the usa, sadly, 40% and more of us disbelieve evolution... as far as i can tell, americans are no longer the leading edge of science and technology - about half of us no longer trust science and technology...

and i communicate with old buddies that should know better - that should think more critically, more skeptically... but they don't.. they think some weird odd, perverse, illogical views...

ugh!!!

it hurts my brain!!!

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 12:10 AM

View Postjonie, on 22 December 2011 - 11:55 PM, said:

I agree Gordon, I'll be pissed too if I or one of my loved ones develops, say Parkinson's disease, and the cure for it is still years away because someone back in 2010 had a moral objection to using embryonic stem cells.

As to your other point about doing our own research. Has there ever been another point in history when that could be done as easily as now? We are far from needing to rely on a single source for our information. Google anything and we're guaranteed to get over a million results - some in support of our opinion, some opposed to it and some, somewhere in the middle. Not all of it will be pertinent or reliable but weeding through it to obtain more knowledge about a subject is much easier than dealing with the Dewey decimal system.

So, with all this information at our fingertips, why do some continue to rely exclusively on a single source? It boggles my mind.


As to doing research on the internet... it should be easy, but i think it is a double edged sword... it is really easy to "search" and find the sites that support your view, rather than trying to do an honest search to try to learn something...

a couple of my friends from college that surprised me in thinking climate science was/is a hoax... i wrote a 286 page word file with references and links to scientific papers explaining/supporting what i say... and they stun me because they don't believe/trust me... they don't necessarily care or support/believe those sites... they think i've been misled... they quote back to me anonymous chain emails... or links to conservative political think tanks that don't actually do any research on the subject, they only publish unreferenced opinions as if they mean something... rarely.. and i'm being generous, because really never have they offered any real scientific data to dispute my claims... but they really cannot... and i know they cannot... but they still don't WANT to believe what i say, what i know...

so... it sux, because there is a ton of info out there that really can help us all be more informed... but i fear people will gravitate to the web sites that say what they want to believe...

but i can be skeptical...

and negative...

and grim...

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 12:21 AM

Quote

Would you blame the science or would you blame those using it in this way?


I do not blame the pursuit of technological advancement. I applaud science, and I'm against the abuse of advancement, especially the lame-ass excuses people give for doing so - some of it is so painfully transparent - like in the Wizard of Oz- "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." I think it's important to know what we can do, but I also count on people to recognize what we should do. That may be a matter of preference, but I'm entitled to my position and my feelings, and, as long as I don't harm people in the process, I can fight my fight the way I see fit.

Quote

You're under the impression that the scientific community is made up of robots who never consider the moral or ill-use implications of their research - that they need the guidance of the religious and the non-scientific community to advise them of these implications.

Not true, of course.


Well, this feels more like a conclusion you've drawn based on an assumption. I don't feel that at all, though I do believe there are all sorts of people. Just like there are people who believe everyone is racist until they prove otherwise (remember, I have a friend who says if you're born white, you're born racist), and those that feel no one is racist until they prove otherwise. I believe in the latter group, though I know that racism does, indeed, exist. People have their own consciences to guide them. It's like hunting, I don't do it myself, but I understand that people do and why it's beneficial. But if they hunt for the thrill of killing, to use animals for target practice, or for trophies on their walls, I'm going to have a different view of them, and I will state my position when the circumstances call for it, such as saying so now.

Quote

How is stem-cell research comparable to animal testing?

Well, as you indicated yourself, there is philosophical opposition to both, and often from opposing sides. The question is "anti-science", and I know people who are dead-set against animal testing, but not stem-cell research using aborted fetuses. I find there is a dichotomy there. If one is for scientific advancement, why oppose animal testing at all? Can it be in the same vein as why one can question fetal stem cell research? It is the dichotomy that I find interesting and worth mentioning.

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 12:34 AM

Oh, crap... i'm going to have to break out my books again... Mooney's "the republican war on science"...

and seth shulman's "Undermining Science: Suppression and Distortion in the Bush Administration"...

otherwise, i'll be lost...

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 01:00 AM

View Postfeegis, on 23 December 2011 - 12:21 AM, said:

Well, as you indicated yourself, there is philosophical opposition to both, and often from opposing sides. The question is "anti-science", and I know people who are dead-set against animal testing, but not stem-cell research using aborted fetuses. I find there is a dichotomy there. If one is for scientific advancement, why oppose animal testing at all? Can it be in the same vein as why one can question fetal stem cell research? It is the dichotomy that I find interesting and worth mentioning.


Fair enough on your other points.

But I still fail to see how the philosophical rejection of using live, sentient beings for scientific testing which can often expose them to treatment most of us would deem inhumane, were it done to humans, correlates to extracting stem cells from embryos? The majority of stem cell lines currently being used for research are 3 - 5 day old blastocysts (not fetuses, aborted or otherwise) which have been frozen for future potential use by the women or couples who paid for their artificial creation through in vitro fertilization. These frozen embryos were destined for destruction had they not been donated to research. Better they be frozen indefinitely or destroyed than used to a greater purpose? I can't understand that. Not for the life of of me.

I can respect the anti-abortion position and find myself a bit more torn over the issue than I may let on, but this sort of research is as far removed from the abortion issue as Kansas is from a shoreline.
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Posted 23 December 2011 - 01:07 AM

View PostGordon, on 23 December 2011 - 12:10 AM, said:

As to doing research on the internet... it should be easy, but i think it is a double edged sword... it is really easy to "search" and find the sites that support your view, rather than trying to do an honest search to try to learn something...


My point was directed specifically towards ease of finding information. Of course, those locked into a single viewpoint who are only interested in constant confirmation of that viewpoint, will be no better helped by the internet than they are by Fox News.
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Posted 23 December 2011 - 01:23 AM

View Postjonie, on 23 December 2011 - 01:07 AM, said:

View PostGordon, on 23 December 2011 - 12:10 AM, said:

As to doing research on the internet... it should be easy, but i think it is a double edged sword... it is really easy to "search" and find the sites that support your view, rather than trying to do an honest search to try to learn something...


My point was directed specifically towards ease of finding information. Of course, those locked into a single viewpoint who are only interested in constant confirmation of that viewpoint, will be no better helped by the internet than they are by Fox News.



yeah... i understand... and agree...

one of my best friends, who went thru the same program as me in college... in 2008 said he had to vote McCain/Palin because he felt that was in his best interests overall...

... i asked why...

he said he thought overall his most important concerns were national security and taxes and McCain/republicans were better on both...

so, after a little two-way, i determined he was still shook up over the 9/11 stuff... so i told him that actually happened under Bush/republicans... he ignored me... i told him how Richard Clarke tried warning Bush/Cheney about 9/11 but they were too busy going about making sure nobody would use federal funds for stem cell research (check it out... seriously... on like August 6 or about, Bush ignored Clarke's warnings about Al Quaeda because he was concentrating on stem cell research...)

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=TRtlkcQ6brE

then, he disputed info i gave him from the Tax Policy Center that showed Obama's tax plan would lower his taxes and McCain's would actually raise it... republicans lower taxes and democrats raise taxes, he told me... i said, look at the tax policy center analysis i sent you.. he said it had to be wrong because everyone knows that republicans lower taxes and democrats raise them...

ugh.. sometimes facts/analyses/data mean nothing, ever...!!!

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 01:33 AM

View Postjonie, on 22 December 2011 - 09:00 AM, said:

View Postbernabby, on 22 December 2011 - 03:02 AM, said:

You must be referring to the Bush administration denying funding for fetal farming. I happen to agree that my tax dollars should not be going to the science of aborting fetuses to obtain tissue matters to supposedly find cures for paralysis for example.


I'd like to hear more about this. I had no idea there were farms and factories aborting fetuses for stem cell research.

I'd heard quite a different story but I'm much more curious about yours.

That's why Bush vetoed embryonic stem cell research. You have to procure an embryo to get the stem cells. Abortions (fetal farming) would have been the source for these embryos. It would have turned stem cell research into a business and scientists into butchers a la that Nazi psycho doctor whose name escapes me, something like Mengela.

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 01:38 AM

View PostRLD, on 22 December 2011 - 10:09 AM, said:

I'm not a flag waver for either party and I can see both side of issues such as abortion and marriage.
Being closed minded on science is beyond my understanding.

When science and common sense square off I choose common sense. I've given several incidents where science was either wrong or contradictory. Yet, your mind is made up that science is god.

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 01:39 AM

Quote

and if i die as a result, i swear to bernabby's god that i will haunt you and all your descendents until the end of time!!!

Ah, but Gordon, I fear no severe retribution from you - you'll remember that I endured the Lions with you, and you'll take some pity on me!

Quote

they think some weird odd, perverse, illogical views...

This is fairly strong language. If this is in regards to science, I'd still like to get an answer on my post about Ice Ages. I'm not saying I disagree with global warming. I'm just saying are we sure we're so much to blame for it before we go spending boatloads of money. As for evolution, I'm open to scientific findings, but I'm still going to have my faith, and why is that a problem for anyone to the point of persecution?

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:00 AM

[quote name='Maurreen' date='22 December 2011 - 12:18 AM' timestamp='1324541925' post='564851']

View Postbernabby, on 22 December 2011 - 02:55 AM, said:

View PostMaurreen, on 21 December 2011 - 11:40 PM, said:

Why do U.S. conservatives seem to be anti-science?

"Anti-science" might not be the best phrase, but you get the idea.

This isn't just about climate change but also evolution. And I think I've read that science tends to get proportionally less federal funds in conservative administrations.

This is not intended to be a left-vs.-right discussion. I consider myself neither. Oh really!!! This is not intended as a left/right discussion but you ask why Conservatives are anti-science. Which direction did you expect this to take?

[/quote
Why are US libersls abortionists? This is not intended to be a left v right discussion but I know that abortion factories tend to get a preponderance of federal funds in a liberal administration.



1. I did use the word "seem." And your point is?
2. A better analogy would be "Why do U.S. liberals seem to be anti-religion?"

3. I can imagine responses to my post that are logical and well-grounded and support a conservative view. I can imagine pro-conservative response based on reasoning instead of feeling. But your response is less than I had hoped for. Well, when you phrase the question in a provacative or accusatory fashion you should not be surprised that some may take offense to your intent. If you phrased it from a more balanced perspective ie. Are liberals or conservatives more likely to be anti-science - maybe you would have gotten the response you had hoped for, don't you think?

4. Whatever you say against liberals is irrelevant to my question. I'm not trying to change your mind. I'm trying to enlighten my own. If you believe that conservatives are no less supportive of science than liberals, it would help to show me that, to give examples regarding science, not abortion. Why? You made this assumption so why don't you give us your sources for coming to this conclusion. The fact is, your mind is already made up and I simply responded accordingly.

You put this out to intentionally offend those with a different political perspective than yours. Then when you get called out you resort to playing the innocent card. You solicited confrontation so have the courage to defend your accusation.

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:08 AM

View Postbernabby, on 22 December 2011 - 10:38 PM, said:

When science and common sense square off I choose common sense. I've given several incidents where science was either wrong or contradictory. Yet, your mind is made up that science is god.

This is an example of your "common sense".

View Postbernabby, on 20 December 2011 - 09:51 AM, said:

The earth needs humans and their exhaling to survive. So, for the earth to survive humans must also survive.

If you had any sense, you'd be embarrassed to post things like this.
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#41 Guest_bernabby_*

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:17 AM

View PostScotto, on 22 December 2011 - 05:53 AM, said:

There are actually many levels to conservatism and nothing is ever black and white. Shades of grey... shades of grey.

For the most part under Bush it was generally religious based objections to certain types of science. Stem cell research being the biggest objection and lots of funding was cut for that, however I think he did fund NASA fairly aggressively and had even started funneling money towards a manned Mars mission. I would also note that funding for science didn't suffer under Bush senior and Reagan. Well certain kinds of science anyway. It's multi faceted and more complex than that for sure.

Under the current administration stem cell research has resumed with some government funding I'm pretty sure and NASA has been cut back. As to abortion concerns that has absolutely nothing to do with science. In general conservatives run the gambit of smart fiscal responsibility in government to eliminating public schools and privatizing everything. Science becomes part of those cuts sometimes as well.


(I'm in no way expressing an opinion either way in my response)

I tend to disagree that abortion has nothing to do with science. Science, if I'm not mistaken, is split as to the beginning of life - anywhere from conception to birth. Questions such as is an embryo a human will never be answered by scientists for fear of offending their abortion allies influential in providing funding. It also is of importance in terms of embryonic stem cell research where aborting humans is necessary for experimental research.

#42 Guest_bernabby_*

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:25 AM

View PostIan Ferrin, on 22 December 2011 - 09:58 AM, said:

View PostMaurreen, on 21 December 2011 - 11:40 PM, said:

Why do U.S. conservatives seem to be anti-science?

Because they're idiots who's constituents think in absolutes and abhor bell curves.

You see, Maureen. Your provocative accusation has already resulted in personal name calling attacks. Well, this idiot knew your provocation would result in someone taking the bait sooner than later. It is unfortunate that the personal attack has come from one who calls himself a Christian.

#43 User is offline   Maurreen Icon

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:26 AM

I plan to take some time to write more, especially about Feegis' question about my question.

But this by Bernabby compels my attention.

View Postbernabby, on 23 December 2011 - 01:38 AM, said:

When science and common sense square off I choose common sense. I've given several incidents where science was either wrong or contradictory. Yet, your mind is made up that science is god.


1. It's good to define our terms. So these are courtesy of http://www.merriam-webster.com.
Common sense: sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts
Science: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method (A few definitions are given, but this one is the most relevant.)

How do you see those as contradictory? Or do you mean something else by "common sense"?

2. The idea that "science was either wrong or contradictory" can seem to be valid criticism of science. But such criticism is not well grounded.

There is probably a better way to explain and expand on this, but here's a shot. Science is about method and falsifiability. Much of science is about finding what is wrong with earlier work. Discoveries build on each other.

Sometimes in the news, we hear "X is bad for you" and then, later, "X is good for you," or vice versa. Often in those cases, further study was done, and sometimes further study still needs to be done. Later research refines earlier work. Maybe the first study was done with young men, and the second study was done with older women.

And often, as I think Joan alluded to, the story gets garbled between the scientists and the public. Each piece of the chain probably has some fault. Scientists may not explain well enough for laymen. The press often has a poor understanding of science and has other demands. The public has limited attention and time.
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#44 User is offline   Bruce N Icon

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:28 AM

View Postbernabby, on 23 December 2011 - 12:33 AM, said:

That's why Bush vetoed embryonic stem cell research. You have to procure an embryo to get the stem cells. Abortions (fetal farming) would have been the source for these embryos. It would have turned stem cell research into a business and scientists into butchers a la that Nazi psycho doctor whose name escapes me, something like Mengela.



Well actually that's not true, the majority of stems cells are now procured from the placenta and umbilical cord. There's no longer any need to harvest stem cells from aborted fetuses.

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Cord_blood

If it helps, think of that stem cell harvest as a gift from your God. He's given you knowledge, and he's giving you part of that blueprint for life, for improving your life in this existence.

Who said he wasn't a benevolent God.

I just don't get why some republican conservatives haven't picked up on that.
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#45 User is offline   Simple Simon Icon

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:36 AM

View Postjonie, on 23 December 2011 - 03:23 PM, said:

View PostSimple Simon, on 22 December 2011 - 09:18 PM, said:

View Postjonie, on 23 December 2011 - 12:55 PM, said:

I try to be reasonable about these things.
The question implicit in this, of course, is what constitutes, "reasonable"? :)

It's subjective. You might not agree. :lol:

In that sense, then, I guess we all attempt to be "reasonable". ;)






#46 User is offline   Simple Simon Icon

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:42 AM

View PostBruce N, on 23 December 2011 - 07:28 PM, said:

Well actually that's not true, the majority of stems cells are now procured from the placenta and umbilical cord. There's no longer any need to harvest stem cells from aborted foetuses.


Sorry, Bruce, but I just felt this needed to be highlighted in such a way as to (hopefully) prevent anyone (not mentioning any names) from completely ignoring it because it doesn't fit their preconceptions. I know it won't make the slightest bit of difference in reality, but since most of the arguments around here are exercises it futility, I figure we might as well have some fun in the process. :)

#47 User is offline   feegis Icon

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:53 AM

Quote

so i told him that actually happened under Bush/republicans...

Yeah - well, '93 WTC attack under who? 9/11 attacks four years in planning, 9 months into Bush's term. Facts can be conveniently presented from both sides, don't you think?

Quote

(check it out... seriously... on like August 6 or about, Bush ignored Clarke's warnings about Al Quaeda because he was concentrating on stem cell research...)

I'll agree that perhaps Bush didn't give a warning appropriate attention (though if I was so sure with my research, I'd make sure I got the attention). Still, Gordon, please provide a link that says Bush was solely and specifically focused on stem-cell research. That seems like a skewed presentation of facts.
I saw another report where it wasn't stem-cell research that preoccupied Bush, but, rather, Iraq.

By David Rennie in Washington
12:05AM GMT 22 Mar 2004

The former White House head of counter-terrorism said last night that President George W Bush refused to take al-Qa'eda seriously before the September 11 attacks, preferring to focus on Iraq instead.


So, which report do we follow to shape our impressions? This is the issue why people don't just latch on to the research people present them. The internet is full of opposing views, and if you don't believe in advantageous presentation, you might be setting yourself up. I read two reports on the Iran Contra affair. One report would have you believing one way, and the other report would have you believing another. I haven't seen the Tax Policy Center report, but feel free to post it.

Quote

ugh.. sometimes facts/analyses/data mean nothing, ever...!!!


I know what you mean. I was once talking to a friend about taxes and economy. I told him how the Reagan tax cuts in '81 spurred economic growth and tax revenues increased. He wouldn't agree (I should point out, he hated Reagan). So I started breaking things down. He didn't agree on one point. Finally, I asked him to agree that 50% of 1,000 is less than 10% of 1,000,000, and he wouldn't agree. He wouldn't agree to a mathematical equation. Happens all around, doesn't it?

#48 User is offline   Gordon Icon

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:54 AM

what i remember is back in the day... 2001... august...

bush went on the air to announce he was discontinuing federal funding on any "new" lines of embryonic stem cell research...

this seemed like a politically neutral move - it allowed continued research on existing lines... only prevented any new lines...

but... the existing lines were really not "genetically diverse" enough to be completely useful... so cutting off funding was tantamount to cutting off real valuable research...

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=TRtlkcQ6brE

now... i've read in other places maybe some things like adult stem cell research is a viable substitute... but i've also heard it isn't - i'm not medical at all, so i don't really know...

but according to mooney's book (or was it Shulman's?), in august 2001, when the CIA was trying to warn President Bush about a possible attack on the US by "al quaeda" he was disinterested because he had to focus on a speech to us all about why we would no longer federally fund stem cell research...

me... i agree with peter griffin - why are we not funding this? i would like to live forever, personally!!

#49 User is offline   Gordon Icon

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:58 AM

oh, gosh darn it Feegis... now i got to go find my mooney and shulman books...

and little reno schroedinger is sleeping on my legs, he going to be mad if i wake him up!!

:lol:

#50 User is offline   Gordon Icon

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 03:04 AM

dang it all, little reno bit me... now i'm mad and going to write a lot... :lol:

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