Reading (pages) AGENDA ITEM (questions, comments, ideas, screeds, manifestos, etc.)



Chapter 8
Mooney discusses the Data Quality Act and the abuses that it allowed during the Bush administration, but does not discuss Congressional Democrats as Republican enablers by casting votes in the needed quantity to be able to vote the Data Quality Act into law.  Although Republicans are the most egregious offenders of science abuse, what about the role of Democrats as either enabling Republican abuses or at least looking the other way?
Chapter 1...and the rest of the book

Is Mooney’s claim that Republicans are a more egregious manipulator of science fair? (One should note I am not a Republican…but an STSer). He does acknowledge that the left manipulate science…however all of his examples are interest groups (e.g. animal rights groups, environmental groups, anti-GM movement)…and most (but certainly not all) of his examples of the right are actual policy makers. Could he find no leftist policy maker “manipulating” science...because, although I myself do not have an example, I am sure they exist (if a right-wing version of Mooney were to write this book, I am certain that he would find plenty). Perhaps Mooney intentionally left such examples out to make the argument in his book of a non-political science…it would be somewhat hard to claim a “Republican war on science" if the left do all the same things. Moreover, the Republican Party held both the legislative and the executive at the time he wrote about many of his examples…did the left do any of that when they had similar power? Mooney clearly has not heard of the symmetry principle…

I dont want to be the first person who initiates the discusstion so plz write yours before me

1- Can we claim that religious conservatives have distorted

aperspectival objectivity in science such as in ideas of

creation?  Does it mean that junk or sound science

for example politician' ideas on creationism are a mere

subjectivity and idiosyncrasies of a specific conservative

religious group? and politicians are abusing the science by their idiosyncrasies

2-  is  there  any relationship between religious and political ideas on science such

as creationism or sex education with social  constructionism?

" just an idea whether it is feasible or not?"

 A)  how can

we compromise the wars of science, politic and religion?

since author lamented the

attacks on science by republican politicians , their

personalized strategies on enlightening public opinions about

scientific issues and undermining of scientific issues such as

global warming and proposed " balancing" of "peer reviews" by "journalists" , new levels of activism and legal reforms

can we claim that, for example , the situation of sex education in schools, is socially constructed during history and is not related to new political and religious policies?

4- just an idea  not related to this week discussion


religious books such as Qoran believe in

nominalism (5) , contingency (5) and stability(2) .

5- are creationism and intelligent design similar?  caz in some cases Mooney uses the word " intelligent design creationalism" as I know intelligent design does not specify the nature of a supernatural designer for the universe whereas in Islam for example, the God , with its supernatural power is the designer  of the world, on the other hand both deny materialism , so I am confused why does Mooney mention to intelligent design creationalism?


To Sonya

I find it difficult to believe that any religious book could be a 5 on contingency…is not the world exactly how God made it? If it could be otherwise…why the need for the God?

To the question about creationism versus intelligent design, creationism states specifically "God" (take your pick on which one...i.e. you go Yahweh and I will go my way) created the world...intelligent design plays language games by saying an intelligent entity created the world (could be God, gods, or an alien of some sort)...however, the creators of "intelligent design" are all one can imply what "intelligent designer" they are referring to...

8- SOnya
To  anonymous responder
  First of all, I do not belive in religious contexts and just belive in a supernatural God ;) so I do belive in ceationism
 my opinions here does not mean I accept this idea
I just wanted to  mention that not any religious books, as I am not familiar with their contexts, Qoran For example belives in contingency as it mentions for example to the medical methods or transportation systems in that period and then mentiones to Arab people that in the future new discoveries will happen that u cant see but all are signs of the existance of one powerful God.does it mean contingency???
To Sonya
New discoveries are not the same thing as contingency...could those discoveries have been otherwise is the would not make much sense for the writers of religious texts to write about contingency...or otherwise they would no longer be the arbiters of truth, if there are multiple truths, that is.
10 -Sonya
chapter 13
Just a comment

In religious courtiers, sex abstinence among women and the phenenomon of being virgin till marriage have caused many social and medical problems for women, medical problems such as Vaginism  espeicaly in the first years of marriage is common which unfortunately has caused weakening of husbands potency and divorce in some cases.

On the other hand, statistics show that since there is no formal and informal channels of sex education,  5o% of Iranian divorce in 2007 was because of sex problems between couples.

To Ross/ch 11
I don't think it makes sense to draw such a direct opposition between contingency and religious belief.  Arbiter of absolute truth is only one religious mode, and even then, religions may be bounded in certain ways.  (i.e., God may have created the world, but he doesn't necessarily sit around fiddling with the beak lengths of finches.  Perhaps God/gods/whatever sort of deity didn't actually create the world, either.  Or who gets to be the arbiter -- see Santorum not sending his kids to Catholic schools because they would have been taught about evolution in science class.)  I don't think you'd have to dig very far into theological literature to turn up a large number of books on contingency.

The particular set of religious beliefs that support the creationism/ID movement right now tend to be of the literalist Christian, God-is-truth bent, but I think Mooney is a little shallow in accepting this religion/science binary so easily.  The ID folks are set up as religion (though they make up a small, if very loud and well-funded, fraction of religious practice in the US) and the other side as science (though whether elementary and secondary school textbooks can really be described as science is worth questioning).  I'm not (for once) trying to play devil's advocate.  I'm just not sure that this is much about science, rather than what Mooney points out as the backdoor attempts to establish a particular set of religious beliefs with the help of the state.
To Nicole
I did not make an opposition between religious belief and contingency...I made an opposition between contingency and organized monotheistic religions. A polytheistic religion has no problem accounting for contingency..."the other god did it..." The three main monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), however, all must have singular non-contingent truths as their basis. Otherwise, if there are multiple ways at arriving at the truth or even worse, multiple truths...why be in the religion in the first place?
Look no further than Christian attacks on postmodernism for evidence of this.
P55, P56
In the book the author repeatedly mentions the Republican politicians' ignorance of the peer-review and consensus within the scientific community. However, this criticism may contradict with the calling for the democratization of science, which encourages challenging the authority of scientists and incorporating common people into the scientific research. One may argue that since congress men are the representatives of people, they are justified to judge the scientists' report. In fact, one of the recent forms of democratic scientific decision--the consensus conference, is organized under the principle that common people should reach their own decision of science after learning and deliberation. How could the author reply this argument?
introduction/book as a whole
Like Denver, I'm not happy with Mooney's description of science as a democratic process, which he does throughout the book.  But though he repeatedly says that science should not be the only influence on policy, he also assumes throughout the book that only scientists have the right/ability to make scientific judgments, which is not a very robust version of democratic process.

I'm not going to jump to the defense of intentional mystification or intimidation, but I don't want the response to be an appeal to scientific authority.  Maybe the response to this "science abuse" might be decent science education, or genuine attempts to engage the public in scientific debate and understanding -- but that hasn't been the main response.  I'd rather see Stephen Pinker defend his evolutionary hoo-haa with something more than appeals to "Science," this imaginary, unitary base of disinterested knowledge. 
To Nicole
While it is true that he argues that only scientists have the right to make scientific judgments (i.e. whether or not something is "true" or not), he does leave room for debate...but he just argues that everyone else should not be allowed to make "scientific" arguments...only ethical inputs. This is in a bit of a conflict with the authority he seeks to give science over other forms of yeah, there is definitely a tension.
Part One

So far I am frustrated in that while Mooney's account is engaging and somewhat entertaining, it does not appear to be well developed in any mode of critical social science analysis that I am aware of (i.e. history, or, discourse analysis, or, ethnographic narrative).  I find myself unwilling to believe in blanket statements that he ascribes as the intentions of Republican and conservative leaders without such analysis.

I guess I am echoing Ross's critique of the lack of symmetry.

To Logan
The audience of the book is not a group of social scientists, so by nature of who he is writing the book for, this analysis will be dumbed down and lacking.  I think the book is more or less well tailored to the lay audience it is intended for, but is severely lacking when put under a more rigorous STS-style analysis.

I seem to share the feelings of others before me. The title itself is geared to gouge - the book does a great job at its purpose: to engage and inflame. But does it provide a balanced set? So, yes to Logan and to Kevin.

Also - how brilliant was it for Gingrich's Congress to cut the OTA? I wonder though, had the OTA lasted, what effect the "war on science" would have had on it...