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longship's Journal
longship's Journal
March 23, 2013

Bronowski's ethical argument.

In the late 60's I became a fan of The Ascent of Man, the BBC's production of 13 essays by Jacob Bronowski, a mathematician and humanist. These video essays were a revelation. But of the 13 essays, none expressed the philosophy of science more precisely than Knowledge or Certainty.

In this one, Bronowski lays down the quantum physics in a way that no one has ever done before, nor will ever again. Furthermore, he lays down an ethical framework within science operates.

It is both a passionate and ethical argument, one in which answers can only come from a base of something like the scientific method.

Here's a quote from Bronowski's essay:

It's said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That's false, tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance, it was done by dogma, it was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.
Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known; we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgment in science stands on the edge of error and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible. In the end, the words were said by Oliver Cromwell: "I beseech you in the bowels of Christ: Think it possible you may be mistaken."

I owe it as a scientist to my friend Leo Szilard, I owe it as a human being to the many members of my family who died here, to stand here as a survivor and a witness. We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power. We have to close the distance between the push-button order and the human act. We have to touch people.

The Ascent of Man is a great collection of essays. But Bronowski really lays it all out on this one.

Just putting this out for other DUers.
March 14, 2013

Axelrod tweets about 47% videographer.

@TheLastWord: #Lastword from @davidaxelrod: It's fair to say Scott Prouty has no future in bartending. Politics, yes.

Enough said?

Unfortunately we will probably have to drag the SOB, screaming.

This person is one of the most ethical persons I have ever experienced. His story is, and I hope, always will be the same.

I wish him well. There are those who wish he would run for Congress. My advice is that we don't need him in Congress, we need him, and many others just like him, on the front line.

What Scott did is oh so much more important than anything that Congress even attempted.

I would advocate to let the guy do what he wishes, even if that means he fades into obscurity. He's already done a great service to the country.

Celebrate what he did. But, let him decide what he wants to do. This thing has utterly changed his life. Only he can decide what to do with this situation.

In other words, let's not presume he wants to be President. Or even Congress Critter.

But I would encourage him, if he thinks he could do some good. If I were a House Democrat, I would be ringing his phone.

March 8, 2013

Young Earth Creationist Duane Gish has died.

Here's the story from the NCSE:
(Sorry! Wouldn't let me copy/paste an excerpt.)

Of course, PZ Myers wasn't going to be quiet about this:
The Gish Gallop finally comes to a halt
A notorious old fraud has kicked the bucket: Duane T. Gish is dead. He was a true pioneer in the art of lying: he was infamous for his “Gish gallop” style in which he’d simply rattle off distortion after lie after BS at a rapid-fire rate, trusting that any intellectually honest opponent would never catch up with him. He mastered the Chewbacca Defense before it was even named.

I saw him debate a biologist at CalPoly Pomona a few years ago. Gish was without a doubt the most dishonest charlatan I have ever witnessed. Churches bussed in devotees from all over the area.

I cannot say that I am sad that he is gone. But at 92 years old he did a lot of damage before went.

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Member since: Thu Aug 12, 2004, 03:43 PM
Number of posts: 40,416

About longship

Home town: Detroit, MI Current residence: Paris, MI. Manistee Nat\'l Forest.
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