Saturday, February 21, 2009

this is why this man is my hero

">edited: Anyone know who said these quotes? They're all from the same person...

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.

The well-meaning contention that all ideas have equal merit seems to me little different from the disastrous contention that no ideas have any merit.

I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true.

Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.

In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time someting like that happened in politics or religion.

Friday, February 13, 2009

facebook stole my brain

My mom asked me why I don't write in my blog anymore. I can only blame it on facebook, which allows me to think and communicate in one-sentence snippets rather than spending the time and thought required to construct meaningful and informative (or at least entertaining) essays.

I've had plenty of ideas for blog posts. For example, the public distrust of science and scientists continues to astound me - as evidenced by things like recent polls showing the very low percentage of Americans that "believe" in evolution, or the continued "debate" in the media over the vaccine/autism connection or global warming. (Note the word "debate" is in quotes because I hate to characterize the shrills of a minority versus the near-consensus majority of scientific opinion as anything close to a real debate).

Anyway. Rather than research and write and edit on these topics, it is so much easier for me to opine "Jen likes the ravioli she just ate for lunch" or "Jen wishes it would snow" and be done with it. It's easier but increasingly unsatisfying. Facebook seems a lot like the Jerry Springer of the internet. My brain is feeling a bit over-sugared with trivial pursuits. I think it's time to switch modes before it's too late to go back.

But it may already be too late. Yesterday, as an exercise to get back into thoughtful writing, I submitted two long comments to two of my favorite blogs, neither of which has shown up on the blogs yet. One I know for sure was never received, and I'm suspecting the second may have reached the same fate, since I can't imagine my comment was too controversial to have been posted. I suspect FB is involved somehow, in a clandestine attempt to maintain control of my brain.

In the meantime, Jen is trying.