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The Crack-Baby Myth…Apparently

In an occurrence of “link drift”, I stumbled upon an interesting article at ThinkProgress. Yes, sites like that are usually heavily biased, but looking past that I found some very interesting research.

Tennessee Arrests First Mother Under Its New Pregnancy Criminalization Law“. Well, obviously, nobody makes it a crime to be pregnant, except maybe the Chinese because of their One Child policy. But this isn’t China, this is Tennessee, and a Conservative state like that is usually making laws against ending pregnancy, not being pregnant, so my curiosity was piqued. Read More…

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Science confirms: Politics wrecks your ability to do math

Dogma and unquestioning belief, whether in religious, philosophical, political, or economic principles is what holds humanity back. Stay Perpetually Skeptical, my friends.

Grist

Everybody knows that our political views can sometimes get in the way of thinking clearly. But perhaps we don’t realize how bad the problem actually is. According to a new psychology paper, our political passions can even undermine our very basic reasoning skills. More specifically, the study finds that people who are otherwise very good at math may totally flunk a problem that they would otherwise probably be able to solve, simply because giving the right answer goes against their political beliefs.

The study, by Yale law professor Dan Kahan and his colleagues, has an ingenious design. At the outset, 1,111 study participants were asked about their political views and also asked a series of questions designed to gauge their “numeracy,” that is, their mathematical reasoning ability. Participants were then asked to solve a fairly difficult problem that involved interpreting the results of a (fake) scientific…

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Cosmos…addendum

I recently wrote a post called The Cosmos and the Holy Book, which was largely about the conflict between religion and science and was inspired by my reading of Carl Sagan’s book Cosmos. However, religion is not the only thing that can hinder scientific advancement. Society has a great deal to do with it, as well–both its structure and its attitudes. Well, I say “structure and attitudes”, though I think it would take someone more well-read on society and probably smarter to me to talk much about those as separate topics; I rather see them as interconnected and influencing each other.  Read More…

The Cosmos and the Holy Book

I’ve been reading through Carl Sagan’s book Cosmos. It is pretty cool. I really want to go out and buy a telescope now…and a book on geometry! Lol…

But I’ve been surprised by the numerous religious references in the book–namely, all the times when religious thought/doctrine/dogma has stood against those who merely observed reality. Partly I was surprised simply because I just never expected these negative references in a book from ’79–I somehow thought all the open talk of religion hating science started with Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. And partly I was surprised when I realized that Religion won the first round of what appears to be an ongoing war between Science and Religion. Read More…