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Re: [Phys-l] science, religion, and politics

Oh boy. Now you've done it. Good luck with that.

"The four points of the compass be logic, knowledge, wisdom and the unknown.
Some do bow in that final direction. Others advance upon it. To bow before the
one is to lose sight of the three. I may submit to the unknown, but never to the
unknowable." ~~Roger Zelazny, in "Lord of Light"

From: Ze'ev Wurman <>
To: Forum for Physics Educators <>
Sent: Tue, October 19, 2010 8:07:04 PM
Subject: Re: [Phys-l] science, religion, and politics

Is there no mirror in the house?

On 10/19/2010 2:03 AM, John Denker wrote:
As the saying goes,
a) you should always keep an open mind ...
b) but not so open that your brain falls out.

And given the Subject: line, perhaps I may be permitted to quote
scripture, with Damon Runyon's postscript:
a) The race is not always to the swift or the battle to the strong,
b) but that's the way to bet.

To say it another way:
a) One should consider all the plausible hypotheses,
b) but not all hypotheses deserve equal weight or deserve equal
time in the discussion.

In particular, when it is time to place a bet or set public policy,
you should not let consideration of implausible or barely-plausible
hypotheses paralyze the decision-making process.

In the real world, sane people make decisions based on less-than-perfect
information. They do it all the time.

I get really tired of people saying "the science is not entirely settled".
I say yeah? So what?
They say "The scientific consensus might be wrong."
I say yeah? OTOH it might be right. We need to make decisions and
take action based on the preponderance of the evidence.

I get really tired of bigots who claim to possess Perfect Truth and who
throw sand in the gears of everyone who does not claim Perfect Truth.

I get really tired of folks who put their thumb on the scale, distorting
public policy for short-term selfish gain.

I get really tired of folks who wrap themselves in the mantle of religion
so they can more effectively bear false witness.

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