Thursday, March 20, 2008

Any Ideas on Where to Start?

In our meetings so far, we've discussed once or twice where we want to go as a group. We came to a consensus that we'd all like to move in a direction towards making our conversations more useful, towards using our skeptical talents to analyze issues that aren't so easy. We don't want to be shooting fish in a barrel forever. What's the point in putting up articles that just tear down articles written by other people? Is anything accomplished?

Well, I was reading a post on denialism blog about how science defenders can empower the anti-science people by writing about them and their activities. The final paragraph of that article seemed to address some of the problem we at the SLSS have been having with the direction of the group and the blog.

While debunking silly nonsense is fun, and I've certainly indulged, it's not as helpful as demonstrating the fundamental dishonesty of organized anti-science. Ultimately our goal is educating people what real science is and, importantly, what real science is not and how to tell the difference. Merely showing how a given argument is silly or incorrect doesn't help a great deal. However, showing people how to tell the difference between these lies and the real deal is a far more valuable skill to impart, and I think that's what a majority of us are doing when we confront nonsense from denialists everywhere.

I've nothing to add to that.

3 comments:

adam said...

I would really like to see some discussion on global warming.

I think this is one of the more important scientific issues society is currently dealing with (or should be dealing with).

This is also somewhat related to the idea of sustainability. I'd like to hear more about its logistic feasability.

If this is of interest to anyone else, i'd like to propose a joint SLSS/movie night meeting to watch either The 11th Hour or An Inconvenient Truth (or some other relevant documentary), preferably followed by some discussion.

Ben said...

That sounds like a good idea. I think at some point, it might be useful to have people looking into some of the different aspects of global warming and talking about their findings. I think some crazy documentary might be a good place to start though.

PJ said...

I think that sounds like a good idea as well. Have you ever heard of the movie, What a Way to Go? I never have until a friend said it was the advanced course on climate change. Apparently, they were quoting the Wikipdeia comment from the article on the 11th hour.

There is also the option of the not really known at all, The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. This is a much more specific topic than general climate change, but it deals with the topic well, in my opinion. That reeked of a nepotistic plug, sorry.

Keep me posted.