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Comment: Re:Indeed, Scientific Zealotry Hurts the Cause ... (Score 1) 1766

by kwietman (#23160384) Attached to: Ben Stein's 'Expelled' - Evolution, Academia and Conformity
"Any time someone tells you about something that happened in the past, you have to either BELIEVE that or not." You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. When I use the word "believe," it's a concession to the evidence, which is strong enough to convince me. I try not to use it too much. I believe that the laws of physics were the same millions (and billions) of years ago because all the observable evidence of the universe points to the laws of physics being static, up until a few picoseconds after the initial event (beyond that, without data, I don't speculate. You may place any creators you wish within that box, but be prepared to be questioned about evidence). When someone says that they believe in ID, it (generally) means that they believe it in spite of the strong evidence suggesting that natural selection occurs, or believe it due to an erroneous or incomplete knowledge of the processes involved. Behe's irreducible complexity has already been discredited, for instance, yet the argument is commonly used to support the idea of ID as a scientific theory. The statement that all evidence from the past must be believed because it cannot be demonstrated is argumentative twaddle. Do you, then, believe that photographs, film, etc. are not really recordings of the past? How about physical measurements of blue shift, or argon-potassium dating? Do you believe that recorded evidence that says that experiments done to determine gravitation, velocity, etc. will end with different results than those previously recorded? I do not succumb to belief, I acknowledge evidence. When and if there is positive, reproducable, experimental evidence of ID, I will acknowledge it as well. Be well.

+ - John McCain Comments on Autism, Thimerosal

Submitted by
kwietman writes: "Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain has stated that he believes there is a causal link between thimerosal used as a preservative in childhood vaccines and the rising incidence of autism. http://www.medpagetoday.com/Campaign08/Campaign08/dh/8610 Despite the large number of studies which fail to show any association between thimerosal and autism, many people fix upon the preservative as a factor in its development. A spokesman for McCain indicated, "Sen. McCain understands there have been numerous scientific studies that haven't found a link. He also recognizes there are many people who've raised concerns about a possible link. He isn't taking sides. Until we better understand the root causes for the rising number of diagnoses, all concerns won't be put to rest. He's advocating greater research." McCain himself said he felt there was "strong evidence" linking autism to thimerosal, but did not provide any specific citations. Given that the research so far fails to show a link, is this a concern for a presidential candidate who plays to the fears of parents based on bad science?"
Role Playing (Games)

+ - Gary Gygax, Creator of Dungeons and Dragons, Dies

Submitted by
kwietman writes: "E. Gary Gygax, the original Game God, creator of Dungeons and Dragons, died Tuesday at the age of 69. http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2008/03/report-gary-gyg.html The cause of death was not immediately available, although Gygax had been in poor health for some time. An outpouring of support has already started on the Troll Lords message board http://www.freeyabb.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=4373&mforum=trolllordgames. Gygax was a legend in gaming circles following the publication of the original D&D rulebook (a copy of which I still have, dogeared though it is, blue cover almost white now) in 1974. He parted ways with TSR in 1985 and was sued by the company for his creation of a competing game system. The funeral will apparently be open to the public, according to Kerry Bourgoine of Troll Lords: "Visitation is on Saturday, March 8 at 11 AM at: Haase Derrick Lockwood Funeral Home 800 Park Drive Lake Geneva, WI 53147 (282) 248-2031 A Funeral Service will follow at 2:00 PM, also at the Haase Derrick Lockwood Funeral Home. In the evening, there will be an informal gathering to remember Gary with food and beverage. Time and location to be determined. More details as we figure them out. Thanks. Kerry" http://www.freeyabb.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=4399&mforum=trolllordgames The entire /. community has lost a great figure, an inspiration to many of us, a king among geeks."

+ - More Privacy Violations Admitted by FBI

Submitted by kwietman
kwietman writes: The FBI admitted that, for the fourth straight year, they improperly accessed phone and internet records of U.S. citizens(http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gxSQM-Pj5GvDDx_r9HNZvtF6JAGgD8V7HN7O0) Director Robert Meuller testified that the abuses occurred prior to sweeping reforms enacted in 2007, and actually blamed the breaches in part on the telecommunications companies who, he says, submitted more information than requested. In another unsurprising development, the FBI also underreported the number of security letters, used to authorize wiretaps and to subpoena internet and telecom records, by over 4600 in 2006. The use of these letters to identify potential terrorists has, according to government audit, increased by several orders of magnitude since the enactment of the Patriot Act. Over 1000 of these security letters were found to be improper in 2005, and similar numbers were expected for 2006 and 2007.

+ - CA SoS: Electronic Voting Inherently Insecure

Submitted by kwietman
kwietman writes: Echoing the concerns of privacy and security experts across the nation, California's Secretary of State Debra Bowen has reported that electronic voting, which is common in California, is rife with security concerns. The report (http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vsr.htm ), conducted by computer scientists at the University of California, evaluates Diebold and other companies in terms of security, accuracy and verifiability. According to a story on Newsweek's web site (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20546322/site/newswee k/), Bowen says, "Things were worse than I thought. There were far too many ways that people with ill intentions could compromise the voting systems without detection." Bowen took the radical step of decertifying voting machines, allowing some to be used only with "hardening" of security. Manufacturers of voting machines, of course, are claiming that the tests do not reflect "real-world conditions." Will this study spark similar looks at electronic voting in other states, as election officials become more enamored of technology?

+ - Kansas abandons "intelligent design" in s

Submitted by joe90
joe90 writes: Kansas has repealed public school science guidelines questioning the theory of evolution that brought the state international ridicule, but educators aren't sure how long it will be before the decision is overturned. The State Board of Education approved new, evolution-friendly science standards with a 6-4 vote Tuesday, replacing ones that questioned the theory and had the support of "intelligent design" advocates.

The fancy is indeed no other than a mode of memory emancipated from the order of space and time. -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge