I will be giving a talk on The Great Paradox of Science

I will be giving a talk about the ideas in my book to the Science Cafe in Cleveland on Monday, October 12 from 7:00 – 8:00 pm (US Eastern time).

The first part will dispel some common myths about science by asserting that there is no such thing as the scientific method; that scientific ‘facts’ are not unchanging objective statements about nature but are theory-dependent judgments; that scientific theories are not falsifiable; that there is no reason to think that scientific theories are true or even approaching truth; that no amount of data can prove the truth of a theory; and that theories cannot even be assigned probabilities of being true.

The second part will describe how science can be so successful despite these seeming weaknesses. I will argue that this more sophisticated understanding of science will provide scientists, policymakers, and members of the general public with the tools they need to make sound, rational decisions in all areas of their lives and to better counter those opposed to specific conclusions of the scientific community–nonbelievers in vaccinations, climate change, and evolution for example–who have been able to exploit the weaknesses in the current folklore about the nature of science to advance their anti-science agendas.

The format of these highly interactive talks is that the speaker presents for just 20-30 minutes and the rest of the time is taken up with Q/A with the audience. These sessions start promptly.

You can join the Zoom session from PC, Mac, Linus, iOS or Android:

Meeting ID: 953 2838 2598
Password: 031709

You can sign in starting at 6:45 pm but will be asked to remain in a waiting area until the session actually begins.

Yet another Trump associate accused of sexual harassment

Lost in the rapid news about Trump’s hospitalization is a yet another political sex scandal. This one involves Kimberly Guilfoyle, one time Fox News personality and currently girlfriend for Donald Trump’s son Don Jr. and also Trump’s campaign finance chair. She seems to be a real piece of work in the way she treated a young assistant and behaved around others.

As President Donald Trump heads into the 2020 elections, he faces a daunting gender gap: according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, he trails Joe Biden by thirty percentage points among female voters. As part of his campaign, Trump has been doing all he can to showcase female stars in the Republican Party, from nominating Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court to naming Kimberly Guilfoyle, the former Fox News host and legal analyst, his campaign’s finance chair. Guilfoyle, however, may not be an ideal emissary. In November, 2018, a young woman who had been one of Guilfoyle’s assistants at Fox News sent company executives a confidential, forty-two-page draft complaint that accused Guilfoyle of repeated sexual harassment, and demanded monetary relief. The document, which resulted in a multimillion-dollar out-of-court settlement, raises serious questions about Guilfoyle’s fitness as a character witness for Trump, let alone as a top campaign official.
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How can they tell?

Calvin Coolidge, who presented a “quiet, boring, dour” image to the public, became president in 1923 when president Warren G. Harding died of heart attack. He was elected to the presidency in 1924 and practiced what might be called a minimalist style of governing and personal behavior. He would sleep for about 11 hours a night and also manage to get in a nap during the day lasting from two to four hours. He would speak as little as possible, advising his successor Herbert Hoover that he “could rid himself of long-winded visitors by simply sitting still and in silence until the visitor stopped talking.”
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Trump just doesn’t care about others

Trump left Walter Reed Hospital yesterday despite all the conflicting reports about how seriously he has been affected by the virus. He clearly wants to send a message to his supporters that he is well again because in MAGA world, being ill is a sign of weakness. Hell, even taking precautions to avoid getting sick is a sign of weakness. While he wore a mask when he left the hospital, his gesture of taking it off just before he entered the residence was a gesture of bravado he had clearly planned in advance.

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Katie Porter exposes price gouging by pharmaceutical companies

The congresswoman from California is so effective because she does her homework, showing that what one significant factor driving price increases of drugs is that pharmaceutical CEOs are compensated according to the profits the company makes. She exposes one CEO who tripled the price of the drug his company produced and reaped a fat bonus.

You want media attention? Say that you are an undecided voter

As the election draws nearer, reporters are fanning out trying to root out that very rare species, the undecided voter. I find it hard to imagine how anyone can be an undecided voter at this point. Elections with an incumbent running are usually a referendum on that person’s performance and Trump has been such an intensely divisive and polarizing figure that this time it will be even more so. I find it hard to imagine that any sentient being could not have formed an opinion of whether to vote for him or not. But yet there are people claiming to be so and the media is drawn to them as flies to honey.
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The shambolic White House strategy over Trump’s illness

It is standard practice in politics to put the best face on anything concerning your candidate so one should not be surprised that Trump’s doctors are giving upbeat reports on his health. But what I don’t understand in why they are giving such contradictory messages.

President Donald Trump could be discharged “as early as tomorrow” from the hospital as he battles the coronavirus, his medical team said on Sunday, while acknowledging Trump experienced concerning drops in his oxygen saturation levels both Friday and Saturday.

The timing on a potential release from Walter Reed medical center, where Trump has been since Friday, was a change from the more cautious assessment the president’s physician, Sean Conley, gave on Saturday, when he declined to “put a hard date” on a possible discharge date.

During a briefing on Trump’s health Sunday morning, Conley also confirmed the president had received supplemental oxygen while at the White House on Friday morning — a step frequently taken in more serious coronavirus cases. Conley a day earlier had avoided acknowledging Trump’s need for supplemental oxygen before arriving at Walter Reed.

Separately, Conley also revealed the president had been given dexamethasone, a decades-old steroid. The announcement concerned medical experts because the drug is typically recommended only for patients with severe or critical cases of Covid-19.

U.K. scientists reported in June that dexamethasone, which quiets the immune system, reduced the risk of death for patients who required supplemental oxygen or ventilator assistance. While the drug can aid those severely ill patients, whose symptoms are often the result of an immune system in overdrive, it can also harm those who are not as sick by hampering the body’s ability to fight off the virus.

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