Tag Archives | reason
Next time you want to call someone on the Internet an idiot or child, remember that you’re strengthening their opinion. Chris Mooney writes at Mother Jones:
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In a recent study, a team of researchers from the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and several other institutions employed a survey of 1,183 Americans to get at the negative consequences of vituperative online comments for the public understanding of science. Participants were asked to read a blog post containing a balanced discussion of the risks and benefits of nanotechnology (which is already all around us and supports a $91 billion US industry). The text of the post was the same for all participants, but the tone of the comments varied. Sometimes, they were “civil”—e.g., no name calling or flaming. But sometimes they were more like this: “If you don’t see the benefits of using nanotechnology in these products, you’re an idiot.”
The researchers were trying to find out what effect exposure to such rudeness had on public perceptions of nanotech risks.
An expert testimonial refuting the illusions of security pandered by soothsayers and demagogues, hell bent on disarming an awakening citizenry.
An opinion on gun control
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I didn’t want to post about this, because frankly, it is exhausting. I’ve been having this exact same argument for my entire adult life. It is not an exaggeration when I say that I know pretty much exactly every single thing an anti-gun person can say. I’ve heard it over and over, the same old tired stuff, trotted out every single time there is a tragedy on the news that can be milked. Yet, I got sucked in, and I’ve spent the last few days arguing with people who either mean well but are uninformed about gun laws and how guns actually work (who I don’t mind at all), or the willfully ignorant (who I do mind), or the obnoxiously stupid who are completely incapable of any critical thinking deeper than a Facebook meme (them, I can’t stand).
Did you know that yesterday was the National Day of Reason? Despite rain, several thousand nonbelievers gathered for a pro-reason rally on the National Mall. California Rep. Pete Stark, the lone openly atheist member of Congress, had this to say:
“The National Day of Reason celebrates the application of reason and the positive impact it has had on humanity. It is also an opportunity to reaffirm the Constitutional separation of religion and government.
Our nation faces many problems—bringing our troops home from Afghanistan, creating jobs, educating our children, and protecting our safety net from irresponsible cuts. We will solve these issues through the application of reason. We must also protect women’s reproductive choices, the integrity of scientific research, and our public education system from those who would hide behind religious dogma to undermine them.”