Human Activity?

The pursuit of science is an interesting endeavor and I’m convinced most folks don’t understand how it actually works.  It’s a simplification of the process, but science proceeds in three steps.  First, observe the natural world and notice some process or event that may possibly be explained by some other process or event.  Second, hypothesize the relationship between the causative event and the resultant action.  This is sometimes referred to as a theory.  Third, extensively test the theory of events until it is shown to be false.  Theories, which are not definitively false may, or may not, be true.  The longer they survive testing without being shown to be false, the more likely they are to be true.

Some theories can be proven to be true mathematically and become laws of nature.  Gravity is one example.  Others are not easily mathematically modeled and remain theories even though they have survived repeated testing and are accepted by most as generally true.  Evolution is in this category.

Over two decades ago, some environmental scientists noticed long term, worldwide temperatures appeared to be rising and seemed to correlate with increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).

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Women’s Rights — Really?

Recently we have been treated to an impassioned public debate on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act/mandated purchases/religious freedom/birth control/women’s rights.  Since Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ January 20th announcement mandating all employers to offer health insurance coverage, including birth control, to their employees, we have been treated to an Olympic level of political gymnastics.

The original announcement offended the Church; the Administration’s “fix” made it worse; conservatives tried to shift the focus to First Amendment rights; liberals called on a 30 year old, libidinal law student to focus the discussion on the hardships of birth control and women’s rights and, finally, the ultimate absurdity, a sex strike by women in Austin, Texas.

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Yesterday, Super Tuesday, primary voters seemed to settle the issue of who will be the Republican nominee for President.  Barring unlikely cooperation between the also ran candidates, it appears the backroom managers of the Republican Party, those folks with the power to anoint a candidate but not the courage to run for office themselves, have overcome the conservative ground swell and will get what they wanted.  The Republican nominee will be another moderate progressive from the same mold that lost the last Presidential election and contrary to the lessons of the 2010 Congressional election.

This November 6th, conservative voters will have two choices – Barack Obama or Barack Obama lite.

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Just Ask Them

President Barack Obama believes the rich taxpayers actually want to pay more in income taxes.  In a speech on April 13, 2011 at George Washington University President Obama said:

“I don’t need another tax cut. …  And here’s the thing: I believe that most wealthy Americans would agree with me.  They want to give back to their country, a country that’s done so much for them.  It’s just Washington hasn’t asked them to.”

I think we should ask.

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Why Do Politicians Fail Us?

In the democratic republic known as the United States of America we embrace the concept of a government “… of the people, by the people and for the people …”  (Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863).  Our founders recognized the foolishness of attempting to place every issue before everyone and the equally foolish single supreme leader of a diverse cultural population.

So, why does this system consistently seem to fail the population it represents?

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Do Politicians Lie to Us?

Of course they do.  The better question is “Why do politicians lie to us?”

In the United States, we have two political parties.  Yes, there are other parties than just Democrats and Republicans, but how many of those other parties actually matter?  Therefore, successful candidates for office, at almost every level, are either a Democrat or a Republican.  These parties are composed of huge numbers of individuals with similar political beliefs and principles.

As in any large organization, political parties are led by a small number of highly motivated and dedicated individuals who organize the membership and set the agenda.

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Why Inside the Bell?

A number of years ago my then teenage daughter exclaimed, “There are so many stupid people in the world.”  My somewhat glib answer at the time was to draw a normal distribution curve based on my belief that human IQ scores would fit such a pattern.  “If,” I told her, “people with low IQ’s were on the left and people with high IQ’s on the right, then most people would group around the center IQ score which is assumed to be 100.  If you are exactly average,” I drew a vertical line down the middle of the curve, “then half of the people in the world will seem stupid relative to you.”

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