Jeff Barr's Blog

Things I Like..

Getting Angry and Doing Something About It

I’ve been getting angry over the last months as I see idiocies like the Creation Museum (not to be dignified with a link), the revelation that most of the Republican presidential candidates don’t believe in evolution, and the general ignorance (or even disdain for) of the basics of science, logic, and what I would have to call reality-based thought models. I don’t know how much of this is peculiar to US residents, or if this anti-intellectualism is a world-wide phenomenon.

We have these giant brains for a reason, folks. Use ‘em or lose ‘em.

There’s a gigantic, amazing universe out there and we need to do our best to understand how it came to be, what will happen to it, and what our place should be in it. If we don’t we will be run over by those who do.

When did gullibility become a positive attribute?

It seems that many people don’t have decent bullshit detectors and are susceptible to all sorts of deception. As a country we have to change that. The phrases “Explain that”, “Prove that,” and “I doubt that” should be close at hand when those “woo-woo” people are presenting you with new “facts.”

When did it become cool to be ignorant and to use the word “science” in a sneering and dismissive fashion?

In the short term I am going to add a few more science and astronomy links to my daily links. I’ve always been interested in science, and have a reasonable layman’s understanding of how the world works. Lately I’ve found that astronomy (not to be confused with astrology, as many people apparently do) is more and more interesting to me. I’ve added a few astronomy blogs to feed list, and I’ve deleted a few popular culture blogs to compensate. I always like to have a few new and interesting facts or discoveries close at hand and my link blog reflects a lot of this.

We need to get more people to think of critical thinking as a powerful tool for life-long use, not as a one-term subject to be studied, passed, and then forgotten!

As a good friend of mine said 30 years ago, we need to address natural stupidity before we invest so much in artificial intelligence.

This is just a start. I have found that the best way to make a big change is to make a subtle change in a new direction, but to keep on moving in that direction. Slowly but surely, the scales can be tipped but it will take a lot of time.

Longer term I want to do something more substantive to support science teaching at the junior high and high school level. My sense is that college is way too late for something this important.

You may be reading this and decide that I am preaching to the choir. As I see it, this choir is kind of small and much of the congregation has their backs turned to us and their fingers are in their ears.

There’s some good work to be done. Who’s with me on this?