Monday Open Thread 02-16-15
Happy Preznit's Day 99percenters! (eyeroll)
Some news and Duke Robillard.
“I can hardly stand the excitement”: How Presidents’ Day became Shopping Weekend
It’s Presidents’ Day, which means ... let's go shopping? Here's who's really behind this fake holiday -- and why
So here’s the first thing you need to know about Presidents’ Day: There’s no national holiday of that name. Under federal law, it’s still known as Washington’s Birthday.
But it’s not celebrated on Feb. 22, the day our first president was born. And that’s all because of the Benjamins.
Not Benjamin Harrison, one of our least distinguished presidents. And not Benjamin Franklin, who wasn’t president at all. No, Presidents’ Day now exists to promote … shopping.
George Washington’s birthday—and, later, Abraham Lincoln’s—were once important public holidays, designed to reconnect Americans with their civic ideals. Today, they simply remind us how principal—that is, the Almighty Dollar—has become the principle in our national life.
Science has been misused for political purposes many times in history. However, the most glaring example of politically motivated pseudoscience—that employed by U.S. government scientists to explain the destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC)—continues to be ignored by many scientists. As we pass the 10th anniversary of the introduction of that account, it is useful to review historic examples of fake science used for political purposes and the pattern that defines that abuse.
An early example of pseudoscience used to promote a political agenda was the concerted Soviet effort to contradict evolutionary theory and Mendelian inheritance. For nearly 45 years, the Soviet government used propaganda to foster unproven theories of agriculture promoted by its minister of agriculture, Trofim Lysenko. Scientists seeking favor with the Soviet hierarchy produced fake experimental data in support of Lysenko’s false claims. Scientific evidence from the fields of biology and genetics was banned in favor of educational programs that taught only Lysenkoism and many biologists and geneticists were executed or sent to labor camps. This propaganda-fueled program of anti-science continued for over forty years, until 1964, and spread to other countries including China.
In the 2010 book Merchants of Doubt, authors Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway describe several other examples of the misuse of science, spanning from the 1950s to the present. They show how widely respected scientists participated in clearly non-scientific efforts to promote the agendas of big business and big government. Examples include the tobacco industry’s misuse of science to obfuscate the links between smoking and cancer, the military industrial complex’s use of scientists to support the scientifically indefensible Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), and several abuses of environmental science.
As Oreskes and Conway made clear, science is about evidence. “It is about claims that can be, and have been, tested through scientific research—experiment, experience, and observation—research that is then subject to critical review by a jury of scientific peers.” In science, if experiments performed do not support a hypothesis, that hypothesis must be rejected. If conclusions fail to pass peer-review due to a lack of supportive evidence or the discovery of evidence that directly contradicts them, those conclusions must be rejected.
Duke Robillard Patrol Wagon Blues
Jimmie Vaughan & Duke Robillard - Cookin
THE DUKE ROBILLARD BAND - BLUES BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY