Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Hogs at the Trough (II) - Addicts and Pushers
Don't expect things to change much. It is mutual--the legislators and special interest groups feed on each other. They will find ways to maintain the status quo.
It was more interesting to read the speech to be given by Lord May, president of the Royal Society. Excerpts from Ian Sample's article "Fundamentalists threaten scientific progress" in the Guardian,UK:
- "All ideas should be open to questioning, and the merit of ideas should be assessed on the strength of evidence that supports them and not on the credentials or affiliations of the individuals proposing them. It is not a recipe for a comfortable life, but it is demonstrably a powerful engine for understanding how the world actually works and for applying this understanding," he will say.
- The problem is most prominent in the debate over climate change, Lord May claims, comparing the climate change denial lobby, which is "funded to the tune of tens of millions of dollars" by the petroleum industry, with the tobacco lobby, which continues to deny that smoking causes lung cancer. The green groups were not spared criticism."We need to recognise that on the one hand there are huge problems with nuclear energy, while on the other hand there are huge problems with putting carbon into the atmosphere." It was hard to see renewable energy replacing nuclear power "on the timescale we need."
- Lord May is particularly critical of the Catholic church and its comments on the use of condoms, which are proven to reduce the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases. "The Vatican in particular promotes abstinence outside marriage, and condemns condom use. This disapproval, for all its putative high-mindedness, simply is not an effective strategy for preventing dissemination of HIV."
- The speech warns of the emerging problem of creationism being taught in school science lessons as a theory on equal footing with evolution. Lord May called on scientists to be more proactive in making their voices heard.
James Aach (author)