Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Science + Courtrooms = Bad Science

31 August 2009

There’s an article in the LA Times from last week all about how the US Chamber of Commerce wants a trial about Global Warming. What’s really weird about it is that they’re calling it “The Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century,” and the thing about that is… the Scopes monkey trial is the perfect example for why this shouldn’t be in a courtroom.

John T. Scopes, circa 1925, unpublished photograph donated to the Smithsonian Institute

John T. Scopes, circa 1925, unpublished photograph donated to the Smithsonian Institute

The first weird thing about the Scopes references is that they’re being made by the members of the Chamber of Commerce. They’re trying to imply that they are the Scopes of this trial, and that the EPA is in the role of William Jennings Bryan. Well… no. To begin with, Scopes was the defendant, and not the prosecution. By going after the EPA, the Chamber of Commerce has clearly placed itself in the role of aggressor. Secondly, and more importantly, like Bryan, it is the Chamber of Commerce who are going against established science. In fact, the metaphor sort of makes perfect sense when you realize that it’s the US Chamber of Commerce that’s playing Bryan in this third adaptation of “Inherit the Wind”. (more…)


The Poles in the Big Tent

24 August 2009

George Hrab began his last episode of the Geologic Podcast with an approximately 9 minute long statement of frustration about the response he’d gotten to his previous week’s “Religious Moron of the Week.” What struck me as odd was the moment when George read one of the e-mails that said that because he wasn’t libertarian enough, that meant he wasn’t a good part of the skeptical movement. Now, first off, I’ve heard George do segments where he just talked for about 15 minutes over his amazement at the abilities of his local fire department, and actually ended the bit with pretty much telling free market people to suck it. So what podcast have those people been listening too? But what’s more than that, when the hell did skepticism become synonymous with libertarianism?


Roger Friedman’s Scientology Claim

23 July 2009

Note: At one point in time, this article was in fact topical.

Roger Friedman used to be a freelance entertainment writer for NewsCorp.  That was before he got fired in April.  Now, Friedman is claiming that his firing was due to the actions of The “Church” of Scientology, and is trying to make a case for that in court. (more…)