09 January 2018

Video of the day -- standing up for reality

This is a campaign ad for Jason Westin, a Texas Democratic candidate for Congress.  Westin is a doctor, not a lawyer or businessman as most who go into politics are.  His ad reflects that, focusing on the right wing's attacks on science, knowledge, and objective reality itself.

This is a long-standing problem in American culture generally, not just politics -- and it's not entirely confined to the right wing either, though it's much worse there.  In a world where technological progress is accelerating, and national power and wealth increasingly depend upon it, the US cannot afford to lobotomize itself by disdaining the science on which technology depends.  As the USSR fell behind the West technologically because of political interference in science, so the US could fall behind better-educated, scientifically-sophisticated competitors such as Japan, South Korea, and western Europe.  In some areas, it's already happening.

I've long thought we need more political leaders drawn from science and engineering backgrounds, fields which foster a grasp of reality as it actually is, regardless of how someone wants it to be, or how some ideology or sacred text says it should be.  The same is true of a doctor's training and experience.

Found via Crooks and Liars, which has a transcript.


Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Good video presentation by Westin, and much truth. I learn something new every day ... because I never even heard of Westin before this. But ... I couldnt help to notice the clip, where Pence is saying something about, we should teach evolution as "theory", aint that some shit?, with new species even evolving as we speak, at that. I would suggest to Pence ... that we should teach this bullshit as well, that you can f*ck up all the air, land and waters, destroy and pollute in extremity, and not do any damage to the earth or environment ... as a "FAR FETCHED THEORY" itself. This is also a man, who some say, he would be better than Trump, because he is more mild or whatever ... this shows you how desensitized we are becoming to insane thinking. This Pence is just as much out of whack with reality as Trump, and to me, a much more religious fruitcake too, including Mrs.Pence. Enough from me ....

09 January, 2018 09:07  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: Texas has 36 Congressional districts, so it's not surprising to not know all the candidates for each one. I hope Westin will make waves, though. The district he's running for is in the Houston area, so he should have a chance.

Pence is a pretty out-there religious wacko, all right. And he'll probably be President in not too much longer, unless he goes down with Trump. In targeting him, Westin is thinking ahead.

09 January, 2018 18:21  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Ernest Jeffrey Moniz is an American nuclear physicist who was the former United States Secretary of Energy, serving under U.S. President Barack Obama.

Who did Trump name to that position?

Rick Perry who, after serving as governor of Texas, was a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars.

Rick Perry (R) misunderstood the administration post that President-elect Donald Trump nominated him for, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

In a report getting attention on social media, the Times said that Perry accepted the nomination to be Energy secretary "believing he was taking on a role as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry that he had long championed in his home state."

"In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor, discovered that he would be no such thing — that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal"

That doesn't inspire confidence in me.

11 January, 2018 12:06  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I remember Moniz. A very distinguished man, as his career at MIT showed. Of course Trump would replace him with someone who could barely form sentences. He probably thought "Moniz" sounded Mexican.

11 January, 2018 12:20  
Anonymous NickM said...

Evolution is a theory. Having said that what I really object to is the "only a" added by nutters. That is how they undermine the quest for truth. Theories are cool and not the least of their good things are they aren't fixed.

12 January, 2018 08:04  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Evolution is a theory.

In the scientific sense, yes -- a fact, but far more than merely that. If we're going to teach it as fact that the Earth is round instead of flat, there should be no trouble with evolution, which is even more solidly supported by the evidence. Modern countries don't stay modern if they teach fairy tales in science class alongside (or instead of) actual scientific theories, which is what this is really all about.

12 January, 2018 08:31  
Anonymous NickM said...

I agree. Saying God made it all in 6 days or whatever is not science. But theories have to be refutable in principle. That is what makes science cool. It is not fixed.

12 January, 2018 09:45  

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