Monthly Archive: August 2006

Aug 31 2006

Keeping creationism out of Ohio’s science classes

Recall that the pro-IDC (intelligent design creationism) forces in Kansas received a setback in their Republican primary elections earlier this month. Now there is a chance to repeat that in Ohio. I wrote earlier about a challenge being mounted to the attempt by Deborah Owens-Fink (one of the most pro-IDC activists in Ohio) to be …

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Aug 30 2006

The benefits of “unbalanced” media coverage

Since I am interested in how the media operates, I regularly go to the annual Susie Gharib Distinguished Lectureship series sponsored by the English Department at Case where they invite journalists to talk about their work. It is always interesting to listen to journalists from the big newspapers such as the Washington Post describe how …

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Aug 29 2006

Fundamental rights eroded even more

The federal government has prevented a 45-year old California man and his 18-year old son, both US citizens, from re-entering the country after a visit to Pakistan. The two men are “the uncle and cousin of Hamid Hayat, a 23-year-old Lodi cherry packer who was convicted in April of supporting terrorists by attending a Pakistani …

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Aug 28 2006

Is Bush an Idiot?

This was the startling title of a controversial segment in August on the MSNBC talk show Scarborough Country, in which host Joe Scarborough moderated a discussion between two guests who debated the possibility that it was true. The show also had a clip of some of Bush’s incoherent ramblings on important topics, a montage which …

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Aug 25 2006

Thoughts on the book Soul of a Chef

(Here are my remarks to the class of incoming first year students at Case’s Share the Vision program held in Severance Hall which featured the common reading book Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman.) They say that two things in life are inevitable – death and taxes. To this, you have to add a …

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Aug 24 2006

The language of science

Good scientists write carefully but not defensively. By carefully, I mean that they strive to be clear and to not over-reach, i.e., reach conclusions beyond what is warranted by the evidence. But they are not overly concerned with whether their words will be taken out of context and misused or subject to other forms of …

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Aug 23 2006

Why “balanced coverage” does not always lead to good science journalism

In a previous post, I showed how George Monbiot of the Guardian newspaper provided an example of good science reporting, distinguishing the credible from those who indulge in wishful thinking. But unfortunately, he is an exception. And Chris Mooney writing in 2004 in the Columbia Journalism Review describes how the more common journalistic practice of …

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Aug 22 2006

How science reporters should do their job

About a year ago, Eldan Goldenberg had a post complaining about the lousy job that reporters do when covering science. (They do an even worse job when covering the government’s fraudulent case for going to war, but that’s a post for another day.) The way that they cover global warming is a good example of …

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Aug 21 2006

Taking steps to avoid global warming

One of the curious features of the debate over what should be done about global warming is what we should be done about it. I can actually understand the position of those who are skeptical about whether things like the Kyoto treaty will solve the problem. I can understand those who worry that government regulations …

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Aug 18 2006

Should secularists fight for 100% separation of church and state?

(This week I will be on my long-anticipated drive across the country to San Francisco. During that time, I am reposting some of the very early items from this blog. Thanks to all those who gave me suggestions on what to see on the way. I now realize that I must have been crazy to …

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