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Canada Censorship Government Science Politics

Scientists Fight Back In Canada 277

Trufagus writes "The current Canadian government is widely regarded as 'anti-science,' and this year they have stepped up their efforts to undermine scientists and control their contact with the media. But now the federal scientists are fighting back and have just launched their own website. Gary Corbett, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, said, 'If science isn't supported then you're going to find that decisions are going to be made more at the political level,' on Monday as the union launched their website."
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Scientists Fight Back In Canada

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  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @08:54AM (#33944986)

    "The worst-case scenario is never knowing the truth about anything because businesses have completely obscured reality in order to continue their pursuit of massive profits."

    No coincidence that the Religious Right in the US, who compose the vast majority of the Tea Party, are funded by oil billionaires among others.

    It's the perfect storm of anti-science superstition and corporate greed.

  • by WebSorcerer ( 889656 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @09:06AM (#33945104)
    There is a comparable web site by US scientists started during the Bush Jr. administration. []
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @09:21AM (#33945260) Homepage Journal

    In the case of the mandatory long form census, do I think it is worth threatening my fellow citizen with jail time and fines for not filling in a form on how many hours of unpaid housework they did?
    Absolutely not. Yet apparently many 'scientists' think they should.
    Apparently it is 'scientific' that government use force against its citizens to collect data for scientists to use. It would not be mandatory otherwise.

    The fact that they see this whole process as 'scientific' and cannot be questioned is really quite absurd.

    You know what's absurd? That you don't know what "scientific" means.
    "Scientific inquiry is generally intended to be as objective as possible, to reduce biased interpretations of results. "
    If everyone is threatened with jail time if they don't fill out the form, then you don't have a self-selecting group of people willing to fill out the form.

    It really is like religion.

    Oh FUCK no! Religion doesn't fly planes, religion didn't cure polio: There's your goddamn problem, you're too fucking stupid to understand the difference between reality and fiction, you think science and religion are the same.

  • by Mendenhall ( 32321 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @09:58AM (#33945648)

    You do know that the Union of Concerned Scientists has been around since 1969, not since Bush Jr., don't you? Did you read their history on their web site?

    They (we, in this case) certainly have been more vocal during the most egregiously anti-scientific administrations, but Bush Jr. wasn't the first.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @10:33AM (#33946044)

    Nobody is arguing that evidence shouldn't be used when making policy decisions.

    The role of politicians is to take a view on the evidence, not to simply accept it at face value.

    If you're aware at all at what's going on in Canada, or if you'd read the article, you'd know that the entire point is that the govt is moving away from evidence-based decision making. It cancels programs that might give data they don't want to acknowledge, and then claim that the data is unknown so they must go ahead with what is known. The restriction on scientists is not because they don't want scientists dictating policy -- it's because they want to censor and regulate scientific discourse. If the evidence gathered is broadly interpreted contrary to their official party policy -- which was arrived at without the use of data -- then they want it shut down, period.

    To claim otherwise means you're either not familiar with the current situation in Canada, or you have a bone to pick with a particular peripherally related issue and are projecting it onto this situation.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:00AM (#33946396)

    Because religion, in the West, has never suppressed science.

    Galileo is the most famous "example" of scientific persecution. The inconvenient little fact is that the man was persecuted for publicly insulting the Pope who, at the time, had the same powers as any other Italian feudal leader. In fact, he was lucky that he did it to the Pope and not one of the other Italian leaders or a major monarch because they'd have been perfectly justified by the standards of feudalism to torture and kill him. The Pope, being the head of most of the Christian religion, was expected to be more merciful than that (and he was, the punishment was house arrest). Ironically, the very reason Galileo was able to insult the Pope in the Vatican was because the Catholic hierarchy invited him as an honored lecturer to discuss the merits of these new theories.

    Heliocentrism, which nearly was declared a "heresy" was nearly declared so because of philosophy, not religion. One of the reasons for the Reformation was the influx of extra-biblical philosophy into Catholicism. Luther bluntly stated that he felt that Aristotelean philosophy had badly corrupted the Catholic Church and it was men in that tradition who persecuted the Heliocentrists.

    You know why they did that? Because they merged Christian scripture and Greek philosophy and said "an oval is an imperfect circle, God never makes anything that's imperfect, therefore Heliocentrism is dangerous." You won't find this view in the Bible. It was only in the minds of "learned men" who applied pagan philosophy to Christian scripture, badly.

    Ironically, this is why the New Testament frequently bashes philosophers and religious individuals who "value tradition over revelation." The New Testament has several scathing attacks on Greek philosophy and Talmudic legalism.

  • by Gadget_Guy ( 627405 ) * on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:21AM (#33946726)

    The EPA ban on DDT [] only covered the United States. The EPA doesn't have the authority to make a worldwide ban. DDT is still in use in other parts of the world to combat malaria. The US gets around 1500 cases of malaria every year, but as far as I am aware there are no deaths.

    Your linked article is very misleading.

  • by Creedo ( 548980 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:33AM (#33947040) Journal
    First, you are introducing a false division between the prevailing philosophical beliefs of those times with the religious beliefs. What, are you going to argue that Thomas Aquinas' arguments were not religious because they were philosophical? Rubbish.
    Second, you are ignoring the fact that the geocentrists used biblical passages to back up their beliefs and attack heliocentrism.
    Third, you seem to imply that Luther and his reformation weren't as mired in anti-scientific attitudes as the Catholics he broke from. Some choice quotes from this odious man:

    Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding.

    Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has.

    Such ignorance plagued both sides of the reformation.

    Ironically, this is why the New Testament frequently bashes philosophers and religious individuals who "value tradition over revelation." The New Testament has several scathing attacks on Greek philosophy and Talmudic legalism.

    Ignoring for the moment that the NT supported tradition(and, in fact, is part of a larger tradition), I would point out that both tradition and revelation are incredibly stupid ways of attempting to understand the universe.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:47AM (#33947344) Homepage

    Because religion, in the West, has never suppressed science.


    Religion in the West tries to do this all the time. For example, Tennessee vs Scopes [], and anybody who tries to get creationism taught in schools. Or preventing experiments no fetal stem cells. Or outlawing abortion because God told them so. Or gay marriage because some obscure passage in the bible says so. Any number of ways in which religion tries to control both science and society.

    There's loads of examples, and it's getting worse -- the fundamentalists try very hard to push back anything which goes against their "view" of how the world works, and force the rest of us to toe the line.

    I'm sorry, but those of us who don't believe in God are often appalled to listen to some of the shit that gets said. And for you to try to say that the West has never allowed religion to suppress science is utter crap.

  • by easterberry ( 1826250 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:45PM (#33951426)

    No, I DISAGREE with conservatives. I don't like Harper. The difference is that the Conservatives use the system to pass measures I disagree with, Harper actively abuses the system to do things he should not be allowed to do.

    I am assuming that by soviet we were referring to totalitarianism and suppression of information. If you're talking about distribution of wealth, then yes, this is less soviet than previous governments, however that would make you off topic so I assume you meant the first thing. Dissolution of the government to prevent a vote of no confidence is totalitarian by removing power from the rest of the parties to secure his own position. The G20 incident was just straight up totalitarianism in action. The second prorogue was to avoid having to answer for the torture debacle and therefore falls under suppression of information.

  • by daem0n1x ( 748565 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @08:05PM (#33968416)

    The article you linked to is a crock of shit. The guy just talks about DDT as it is harmless, citing the facts that are convenient to him and omitting everything else.

    So, DDT is effective in malaria control. Spraying cyanide would likely be, also. But it would kill more people than it would save. DDT kills many insects and other animals, accumulates in the environment and the body for a long time and it has proven toxic and carcinogenic effects. Also, it spreads to the rest of the world easily. Do you really think we should be using that to fight malaria and causing long-term effects that could kill many more people than malaria? Come on, you don't need to be a scientist to know this.

    Also, it was a scientist that created DDT, it was another that killed it. I wonder, when you say "They are just as likely to make catastrophic errors, resulting in millions of deaths" you were mentioning the former or the latter?

    If think scientists are so bad, shutdown your computer, take off your clothes and go live in a cave. That's where you'd be without the evil scientists.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.