Monthly Archive: October 2005

Oct 31 2005

The strangeness of George W. Bush

While Iraq unravels before everyone’s eyes, the White House administration devolves into incoherence under the weight of indictments (both actualized and pending) of its senior members, and finger pointing and blame for the debacle starts being spread around, it is time to look more closely at the curious role of George W. Bush in all …

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Oct 27 2005

The mess that is Iraq-4: Why things fell apart

One of the peculiar things about history is how the great powers of any given era do not think that the lessons of history apply to them, that somehow the present conditions are so qualitatively different that there is little to be learned from the past, because the old rules are not applicable anymore. And …

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Oct 26 2005

The mess that is Iraq-3: The reasons for the invasion

The one question that everyone keeps puzzling over in analyzing the Iraq debacle is why? Why did the US attack Iraq? It has become increasingly clear that the Bush administration had long wanted to invade Iraq and was just waiting for an excuse to do so. The events of September 11, 2001 was seized by …

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Oct 25 2005

The mess that is Iraq-2: How could it have happened?

There is no question in the minds of any but the most diehard supporters of George Bush that what has happened in Iraq can only be described as a debacle. The only serious debates that are occurring now center around two issues: (1) How could this mess have happened? and (2) What is to be …

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Oct 24 2005

The mess that is Iraq

One of these days, the number of US soldiers killed will reach a milestone of 2,000. The media will take solemn note of this event. Of course, the very fact that the focus is only on US troop deaths is a measure of how insular the media coverage is. The 2,000 mark of non-Iraqi coalition …

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Oct 21 2005

Debating tricks and defenses in the IDC debate

In the postings this week, I have been looking at the way that IDC people have been using language to blur crucial distinctions and to hide their true agenda. In order to combat this, the scientific people have to be very careful and adopt two strategies. The first is to not let the IDC people …

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Oct 20 2005

Blurring distinctions as part of the ‘Wedge Strategy’

As I said in a previous posting, there is nothing mysterious about the practice of methodological naturalism. It is what we expect people to use in everyday life and anyone who did not do so and saw god’s hand behind commonplace daily events would be viewed as some kind of religious nut, even by otherwise …

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Oct 19 2005

Methodological naturalism

If our car developed a strange and disturbing noise, we would take it to a mechanic to diagnose the problem. If, after trying out just one or two ideas and failing, the mechanic threw up her hands and said that she gave up because the cause must be something mysterious and inexplicable, we would very …

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Oct 18 2005

The name game

When I first started getting interested in the so-called ‘intelligent design creationist’ (IDC) movement, I noticed that they were very careful about terminology and insisted on using specific terms. For example, IDC people would divide science up into two categories that they called ‘empirical science’ and ‘origins science.’ Empirical science was defined by them as …

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Oct 17 2005

The different use of terminology in scientific and political debates

I would like to revisit the question addressed earlier of why scientists are at a disadvantage when they try to debate in political forums, like those involving so-called intelligent design creationism. This time it deals with how terminology is introduced and used. Scientists often need to introduce new terms into the vocabulary to accommodate a …

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