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NEWS -- 2012.11.17.Saturday

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  • James Martin
    1) Three columns/demonstrations of ignorance 2) Opinions of the ignorant can t beat research. 3) The slave driver money hungry Walmart 4) Bay of Plenty
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 17, 2012
      1) Three columns/demonstrations of ignorance
      2) Opinions of the ignorant can't beat research.
      3) The slave driver money hungry Walmart
      4) Bay of Plenty Times column (New Zealand)
      5) Real Time with Bill Maher

      In the past few weeks we have seen headlines ---

      Vatican digs in after gay marriage advances
      By NICOLE WINFIELD | Associated Press - Saturday 10 November 2012
      VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican is digging in after gay marriage initiatives scored big wins this week in the U.S. and Europe, vowing to never stop insisting that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

      --- click on URL to continue ---


      Earthquake predictions and a triumph of scientific illiteracy in an Italian court
      An Italian court sentenced scientists to jail time for not having a functioning crystal ball ahead of the 2009 earthquake in L'Aquila. The arguments of science and reason fell on deaf ears.

      By Dan Murphy, Staff writer / October 22, 2012

      Rarely since a Catholic inquisition in Rome condemned Galileo Galilei to spend the remainder of his days under house arrest for the heresy of teaching that the Earth revolves around the sun, has an Italian court been so wrong about science.

      --- click on URL to continue ---

      My comment ---
      Rulings like this allow for the pope to be sued when prayers go unanswered. :~)|


      Teacher allegedly tells class Obama's re-election is 'America's funeral' [VIDEO]
      The Daily Caller - Monday 12 November 2012
      On November 7, an elementary school teacher in south central Louisiana allegedly told her class of fourth graders that she was "attending America's funeral" because Barack Obama won the presidential election, according to a report by KATC, the local ABC television affiliate.
      --- click on URL to continue and to see video ---


      The three columns above could be summed up with this from the New Zealand Herald --->
      Editorial: Opinions of the ignorant can't beat research
      Saturday Oct 20, 2012
      Enthusiastic amateurs are entitled to disagree with experts, but they must produce convincing evidence to back their claims

      It is a quirk of modern life that expert opinion is often tossed aside as if it has little relevance. We live in a time when some people accord the views of quacks a status as high as that of health authorities, and where the view of an overwhelming majority of climate scientists is ridiculed for no good reason.
      Conspiracy theories also abound, whether concerning the 9/11 terrorist attacks or the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. For some, the mundane official explanations for these events do not suffice.

      It was into this arena that Patrick Stokes, a lecturer in philosophy at Melbourne's Deakin University, stepped recently. In an Opinion article in the Herald, he suggested that not every Tom, Dick or Harry's view deserved to be treated as expert and aired in public discourse.

      A false equivalence between experts and non-experts was an increasingly pernicious feature of public discourse, he said. It encouraged enthusiastic amateurs to think they were entitled to disagree with the likes of climate scientists and immunologists and have their views respected. But there was, said Mr Stokes, no equal right to be heard on a matter in which only one of the two parties had relevant expertise.

      It was easy to imagine the outcry from those who like to think their views should be given equal space in the media when vaccination, fluoridation, climate change and the like are being debated. They would doubtless dismiss Mr Stokes' view as elitist. They would also assert that science is never settled and that the views of experts should be questioned continuously.
      Their case is wafer-thin. When people claim something unexpected and contrary to expert opinion on a subject, a burden of proof falls on them. At some point, they must, rather than simply criticising the view of authorities, come up with convincing evidence to support their own claims. A failure to do this is one more reason for surrendering any right to be have their views respected.

      In the interests of rational discourse, it is helpful that Mr Stokes has not been alone in his criticism of enthusiastic amateurs. Only last month, during a High Court case, Justice Geoffrey Venning told a member of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition that his views on the way the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research collected temperatures was of no interest to him. The man had no applicable qualifications and his interest in the area did not sufficiently qualify him as an expert, he said.

      Everyone is, of course, entitled to their opinion. That right is a byproduct of the all-consuming sense of equality that underpins our society. But not all should be accorded equal weight when they must be grounded in the likes of scientific or legal expertise. Years of study and experience in a field must count. They deserve to be given more value than views motivated by the unpleasant consequences of a scientific consensus or the failure of a conventional practice to offer a satisfactory outcome.

      Such ill-founded grounds and others, including attacks on the honesty of scientists and health professionals, invite instant dismissal. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Thus, an irrational fog has descended over a number of issues. Expertise deserves respect. Everyone is free to disagree but ignorance does not have an equal right to be heard.


      My comment ---
      The rightwingers came out in full force in the comments to this editorial. At the URL


      The slave driver money hungry Walmart




      One of the comments under this column in the Bay of Plenty Times (New Zealand) includes --->

      "As is recorded in the Bible these traitors have wrecked havoc where ever they have touched down in this Universe where the have been expelled into." [ sic ]

      That about sums it up too.



      "Real Time with Bill Maher" -- November 16th show -- "Overtime" -- his last show until January.

      Episode 267



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