Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.

HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

Henry Bauer, Peter Breggin , Harvey Bialy, Giordano Bruno, Erwin Chargaff, Nicolaus Copernicus, Francis Crick, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw, Freeman Dyson, Peter Duesberg, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, John Fewster, Galileo Galilei, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Edward Jenner, Benjamin Jesty, Michio Kaku, Adrian Kent, Ernst Krebs, Thomas Kuhn, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling, Eric Penrose, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick, Sherwood Rowland, Carl Sagan, Otto Rossler, Fred Singer, Thomas Szasz, Alfred Wegener, Edward O. Wilson, James Watson.
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Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Belief)

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Big time New School conference on Politics and Science

But will it omit the the realpolitik of science itself? Probably.

Here’s a nice little jawfest at the New School this week, starting this morning. We intend to drop down and hear what this combustible mix has to say. Right wing and left, establishment and whistleblowers. That’s the kind of discussion the true academy exists to foster.

No doubt we will hear a few truths that the media lapdogs of the science estabishment would otherwise fail to print, if they live up to the description of South African novelist Rian Molan. He has memorably castigated the HIV?AIDS reporters of the world as “craven lickspittles of the press”.

That’s a little scathing and we would not suggest that most of the world science press are such slavish copiers of NIH and drug company handouts as are the AIDS reporters of the world.

But we do not expect that any of the esteemed members of these panels have read the AIDS literature for themselves or have any idea that science be distorted from within as violently as it can be distorted from without.

What is needed is a similar conference on the former topic. Will it happen? Given that there is a very important and remarkable expose of the shocking situation in HIV?AIDS about to be published in a very influential US magazine, perhaps there is another answer to this question other than the one which one would normally have to give, which is “No chance”.

New School Politics and Science Conference Feb 9-10 2006

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New School Politics and Science Conferenmce Feb 9-10 2006

The increasing politicization of science can lead to policy decisions that run counter to accepted scientific consensus and risk endangering our health and well-being. Scientists and policy-makers from across the political spectrum will assess the current tension between politics and science and discuss how to increase the likelihood that the best science becomes the basis for future public policy.

A Social Research Conference

The New School , February 9 and 10, 2006

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Conference Agenda

(Speakers subject to change.)

Thursday, February 9

10:30 A.M. – 1:15 P.M.

Session I: Recent History: The Emerging Conflict between Politics and Science

Has the balance of power among the various interests that play a role in determining public policy changed? What changes have occurred in the influence of science? What are the consequences of these changes? What lessons can be learned from past successes and failures in creating public policy?

Rita Colwell, Chairman, Canon US Life Science, Inc.; Distinguished Professor, University of Maryland College Park and John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; Former Director, National Science Foundation

Henry Kelly, President, Federation of American Scientists

Daniel Kevles, Stanley Woodward Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies, Program in History of Medicine, Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Moderator: Gerald Holton, Mallinckrodt Research Professor of Physics and Research Professor of History of Science, Harvard University

2:15 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.

Session II: Health

What are the roles of scientific, political, religious, and corporate interests in the creation of health policy, for example reproductive health policy? Has the relationship among these forces changed? If so, what are the consequences for our well-being?

Eric Cohen, Director, Biotechnology and American Democracy Program, Ethics and Public Policy Center; Editor, The New Atlantis

M. Joycelyn Elders M.D., Distinguished Professor, College of Public Health, Professor Emeritus, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas School of Medical Sciences; Former United States Surgeon General

William Hurlbut, Consulting Professor, Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University Medical Center, Member, President’s Council on Bioethics

John S. Santelli M.D., Professor and Chairman, Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health and Clinical Pediatrics, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Moderator: Bernard Goldstein, Professor and Former Dean, Univeristy of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

5:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.

Reception

6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.

Session III: Keynote Address by Neal Lane, Science Advisor to President Clinton; Former Director of the National Science Foundation

Why this conference now? How has the relationship between science and politics changed? Where have we been, where are we now, and where should we be going?

Q & A by Bob Kerrey, President, The New School; Former U.S. Senator from Nebraska

Friday February 10

10:00A.M. – 12:450 A.M.

Session IV: The Environment

What is the role of science and scientists in making environmental policy? What interests compete to create policies affecting the environment? Has the balance among them changed? If so, how? What are the consequences?

Paul Ehrlich, President, Center for Conservation Biology; Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University

James E. Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Steven F. Hayward, F. K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research; Senior fellow, Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy

Michael Oppenheimer, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs and Director, Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, Princeton University

Moderator: Dawn Rittenhouse, Director, Sustainable Development, Dupont

1:45 P.M. – 4:30 P.M.

Session V: Energy: Technology and Sources of Power

What is the role of science and scientists in making energy policy? Has this changed, and if so, how? If a change has occurred, is it a matter of the relative influence of scientists, corporations and politicians? How are the issues tied to new trends in globalization? What are the consequences of these changes?

Paul Gilman, Director, Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies at ORNL; Former Science Advisor, United States Environmental Protection Agency

Kurt Gottfried, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Cornell University; Co-founder and Chair, Union of Concerned Scientists

Martin Hoffert, Professor Emeritus of Physics, New York University

William F. Martin, Chairman, Washington Policy & Analysis; Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee, United States Department of Energy

Moderator: Henry Kelly, President, Federation of American Scientists

5:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M.

Session VI: Round-table Discussion

What needs to be done now, and by whom or by what institutions, in order to ensure that good science leads to good public policy that best serves the needs of the American public? How can we change the current situation so that scientists and scientific findings have more influence? How can we improve the policy decision-making process?

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director, James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University; Member, President’s Council on Bioethics

Bernard Goldstein, Professor and Former Dean, Univeristy of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

David Goldston, Chief of Staff, House Committee on Science

Rush Holt, US Representative from New Jersey

Rick Piltz, Director, Climate Science Watch; Former Senior Associate, US Climate Change Science Program

Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO, New York Academy of Science

Philip M. Smith, Smith Science Policy & Management; Former Executive Officer, National Research Council

Albert H. Teich, Director of Science & Policy Programs, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Ruth Wooden, President, Public Agenda

Moderator: Ira Flatow, Host, Talk of The Nation: Science Friday; Science Correspondent, National Public Radio

The New SchoolThe New School Divisions

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2 Responses to “Big time New School conference on Politics and Science”

  1. Frank Lusardi Says:

    “Will it omit the realpolitik of science itself?” Come, now,
    Truthseeker, you know it will! This is a cat fight between those who already control the politics of science and those who would control it, between the mannered Ivy League overlords and the Mountain State wannabes. Whatever the outcome, the loser will be Science itself.

  2. truthseeker Says:

    Certainly the Ivy League overlords, East and West, were present in force on stage at this extraordinary event.

    We will be posting on it today when time permits and when we recover from the two foot snowstorm which has imposed a blanket of silence on Central Park neighborhoods with a historic 22 inches and counting.

    It is not the snowstorm itself which is oppressive, of courss – two feet of snow is a beautiful brake on New York City excess, for the most part. It is the blizzard of “an historic”s which is flying from the mouths of commentators.

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