On Darwin Day, Promoting Scientific T...

On Darwin Day, Promoting Scientific Thinking

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum

Full Truth

Saint Paul, MN

#1 Feb 12, 2013
On Darwin Day, Promoting Scientific Thinking

Rep. Rush Holt, 02/12/13
U.S. Congressman from New Jersey's 12th district

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. Like Galileo, Newton and Einstein in the physical sciences, Darwin in the life sciences provided a new framework for thinking that led to great new understanding and eventually greatly improved the quality of life for millions of people. I have proposed that this date be recognized officially as Darwin Day as a reminder of the need to promote scientific thinking throughout our society.

Although I am a research scientist and teacher by background, the world in which I live day to day -- the world of politics and legislation -- is a fairly constrained, unscientific world. The inhabitants of that world do not often break new ground. There are not many new ideas. The work of politicians is to find a balance of existing competing interests that will hold at least for a short time. Science is not like that; it is progressive. Scientists operate on the assumption that through better and better theories drawn from evidence one can have clearer and clearer understanding of how the world works.

Science is not primarily a compilation and refinement of what is known. Science is mostly a very clever technique for venturing into what is not known. Its currency is new ideas. The new ideas are not simply daydreams or unfounded conjectures. They are extrapolations from observation and evidence. The scientists we extol, like Darwin, could see more pathways into the unknown from the commonplace.

Newton could show that the commonly observed gravity applied equally well to falling apples on Earth or orbiting planets in the heavens, and others could extend the same theories to spiral galaxies. Einstein could show that Newton's theory of gravitation could be modified to explain and predict even more phenomena by considering clocks in the presence of gravity and considering analogies to common, non-gravitational acceleration. Later, others could extrapolate to new ideas about astonishingly dense black holes or to global positioning systems able to pinpoint a person's location anywhere in the world within inches.

Darwin's observations and theory about finches and pigeons have led scientists from an understanding of the suitability of different sized beaks for cracking different seeds to much more obviously relevant concerns such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria that kill humans, the effect of climate changes on crops, species-jumping viruses, the ability of adult humans to digest milk, the susceptibility of individuals to malaria, or the relative abilities of Tibetans and Han Chinese to thrive on the high Himalayan plateau.

We learn through the study of science that the world is not capricious, that there is a majestic order and beauty that emerges from understanding. Science leads, not only to practical new ideas, but also to better thinking and to a more optimistic view of the possibilities of humans. For some it also leads to a greater appreciation of the divine. In the words of the psalmist, "the heavens are telling the glory of God; the firmament displays his wondrous handiwork." The wonder and the glory, say many religiously faithful scientists, are enhanced the more we pursue an understanding.

More at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-rush-holt/d...
Awfull Truth

Grantsburg, WI

#2 Feb 12, 2013
Defective,

Speaking of Sociopaths that Flip Out, are you settling in for a nice night of "Projecting" what you perceive in your sick mind as Me, the Great Boogeyman that makes you Potty your Pants?

Have a Fun time Psycho.....just do not leave Mommy's Spare room and go out among the Children!
Full Truth

Saint Paul, MN

#3 Feb 12, 2013
You know you are an illiterate right wing extremist when you can't even spell your Topix posting name correctly.
Awfull Truth

Grantsburg, WI

#4 Feb 12, 2013
Full Truth wrote:
You know you are an illiterate right wing extremist when you can't even spell your Topix posting name correctly.
Is this your Scientific Observation?

You are renowned n these pages as an insightful poster that gleans relevant information using Scientific Principles and reasoned logic.

YOU are the poster that should post a cut/paste that someone else wrote about how smart and scientific the writer is.

Demokrat Sheeple!
Consistent

Saint Paul, MN

#5 Feb 12, 2013
I'm pompous AND ignorant. Nice!

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