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Showing posts from April, 2009

Gaining Intelligence from Torture

Sent this letter to the White House today:

Dear President Obama,

Thank you for releasing some of the government memos authorizing torture, Americans can take pride in your courage doing so.

Please establish an open, scientific investigation on U.S. torture and/or cruel/inhuman/degrading treatment.

The investigation's report should recommend actions in the best interests of our citizens and the people of the world toward a peaceful future.

I believe this official report is necessary to reaffirm America's commitment to the Constitution, international treaty obligations and human rights. It will strengthen U.S. national security, help to re-establish America's standing in the world, and may aid the long-term survival of our species.

Sincerely,
John C. ‘Buck’ Field

Reply to Boldly Going Nowhere

Given the crises in physics, could one get further out on a speculative limb than to pronounce limits of our future capabilities? Considering that we lack good definitions, much less reasonable dynamical models for our basic perceptions of reality, (fundamentals in physics: space-time, matter, force, and energy), we ought to avoid the unjustified certainties distinguishing some of the most dangerous and harmful ideological systems in the world - they are antithetical to science.

While billions of dollars and thousands of man-lives are devoted to probing the fundamentals of physical reality, Seth Shostak, in his April 13th, 2009 Op-Ed conveys the widespread view that we already know the basic nature of reality's fundamentals, locality, and other observations. Certain of the nature, absolute limits, and relationships among the fundamentals as proponents of this view often are, there seems no reason not to circumscribe the range of possible technologies that will be capable to trans…

ID Discussion 1

I had the opportunity to exchange emails with a very interesting Intelligent Design proponent, Casey Luskin. With minor edits for grammar, etc., here is our exchange:

Dear Casey, I’m very grateful for the time and effort you invested in your reply.

I’ve been frustrated in my attempt to identify a fallacy-free chain of reasoning which supports intelligent design, or even to understand exactly what it is, but your email and especially the Idea Center material has helped. I seem to have misunderstood how you are using ID – As I understand it now, the ability of natural random change under constraints to produce increasing complexity and order is denied. I believe this denial to be an error – although to test it scientifically, an intelligence admittedly must be involved: the science researcher. Having said that, the only denials of this type of which I’m aware are used in support of religious faith, (perhaps there are others). This does not in itself make the denial incorrect, but some c…

Letter to the TSBOE Chair

Dear Dr. McLeroy,
I am a researcher formerly living in Plano, and read a AAAS article suggesting (in alarmed tones) that revisions to our state's biology texts are intended to provide an opening for the teaching of creationism or ID.
In some of your discussions and letters, there seems to be disagreement that evolution is the term for describing how our categorizations of individuals change over time when there is replication, variation, and selection. Contrary to the claims ascribed to you in "The Glencoe Motion", anyone can observe evolution with some time, a pen, selection criteria, and a photocopier, and there are many software packages which do this as well. The fact that our lifespan is insufficient to directly observe large-scale changes in biology, astronomy, geology, cosmology, etc. is hardly the fault of the species, life, space-time, or the processes involved. For example, our current inability in physics to explain "time", hardly seems appropriat…