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Links With Your Coffee - Saturday


  • BBC NEWS | UK | England | Hampshire | Duck charms restaurant customers

    One that made me smile. (tip to pedantsareus)

  • Jon Stewart's Unedited Interview with Mike Huckabee | Indecision Forever | Comedy Central

  • BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Herschel gives glimpse of power
    Europe's new Herschel space observatory has provided a demonstration of its capability with a first image of the iconic Whirlpool Galaxy.

  • Behind the curtains – Bad Science

  • Science-Based Medicine » How do scientists become cranks and doctors quacks?
    As a physician and scientists who’s dedicated his life to the application of science to the development of better medical treatments, I’ve often wondered how formerly admired scientists and physicians fall into pseudoscience or even generate into out-and-out cranks. Examples are numerous and depressing to contemplate. For example, there’s Linus Pauling, a highly respected chemist and Nobel Laureate, who in his later years became convinced that high dose vitamin C could cure cancer. Indeed, Pauling’s belief that high dose vitamin C could cure the common cold and cancer fueled the development of a whole new form of quackery known as “orthomolecular medicine,” whose entire philosophy seems to be based on the concept that if some vitamins are good more must be better.

  • Epistemology
    Of course, many non-empirically based convictions are relatively harmless as guides to behavior so long as they’re confined to our private lives. Beliefs in god, astrology, psychic powers, cosmic consciousness and so forth can be the epistemic equivalent of victimless crimes. But the presumption of such beliefs – that there are reliable alternatives to empiricism – isn’t so benign when carried into the public arena. Indeed, the Palinesque parochialism that disdains correction by science and knowledge-based expertise is manifestly dangerous. To imagine that one’s worldview, whether religious or secular, is beyond disconfirmation helps to license an absolutism which brooks no dissent and countenances the demonization of those with different ideas. It’s no coincidence that calls to “Kill him!” (Obama) surfaced at some McCain-Palin rallies. A little epistemic humility would go a long way toward reducing the ideological tribalism underlying the culture wars. (What’s ironic is that populist suspicion of bi-coastal know-it-alls gets it precisely backwards: empiricists are just those who realize they don’t know it all.



House Democrats Unveil Plan for Health Care Overhaul

House Democrats on Friday answered President Obama’s call for a sweeping overhaul of the health care system by putting forward a 852-page draft bill (PDF) that would require all Americans to obtain health insurance, force employers to provide benefits or help pay for them, and create a new public insurance program to compete with private insurers — a move that Republicans will bitterly oppose.

RE: Jon Stewart's Unedited Interview with Mike Huckabee

That a so called "spiritual leader" such as the Reverend Mike Huckabee would equate the physical trappings of human life (e.g. beating heart, human genetic markings) with the "spiritual" qualities of human life is very ironic.

Of course, its the "spiritual" qualities that substantially differentiate human life from other forms of life. It's the person who emerges from the physical trappings that is special, of course, not the physical trappings of that person. If Mike Huckabee's brain were reduced to that of a human embryo, even if life support could be used to sustain the life in his body, the person that is Mike Huckabee, would be forever gone.

Simply put, a human embryo, while living and human, is not the moral equivalent of a person (human or not).

That a so called "spiritual leader" ... would equate the physical trappings of human life (e.g. beating heart, human genetic markings) with the "spiritual" qualities of human life is very ironic...


Whenever anyone says the abortion of fetuses with heartbeats or brain activity is murder, I always think: Chickens have heartbeats and brain activity. And I'll bet Huckabee eats chicken. It's tasty!

Naturally, I would be more interested to hear the anti-abortion arguments of someone who is also vegetarian, anti-death-penalty, and anti-war. But for some reason I've never even heard of such a person.

re: Huckabee

The argument "economic discomfort is not a good reason to kill a human" completely falls apart when compared to war.

Wars are primarily fought over natural resources.

If a few kids in another country come between us and our economic needs, I certainly don't see the same Abortion Clinic protestors picketing the White House. Search "secret wars of the cia" for a much scarier picture of what we do to other people to achieve economic superiority.

I believe abortion is 'bad', but the consequences of making it illegal are far worse.

When Mike Huckabee uses the analogy of people dealing with their parents, he only talks about the children and their would be selfishness, should they become distressed at the costs both financially and mentally, and should they also seek relief. He refuses to discuss the selfishness of the parent that would willingly put their children through such an ordeal.

I was surprised when Jon didn't bring up this problem with Huckabee's rationalization. It is the person that wishes NOT to burden others with their infirmity in old age that seems to me to be the morally superior, rather than the family members that wish to keep such a person alive at all costs.


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