A “Defending Science” footnote

July 24, 2007 at 11:26 pm | Posted in Policy | Leave a comment

A great portion of my struggle in defending science, scientists and non-scientists is spent in an effort to provide a coherent statement about an established though somewhat abstract idea that makes sense to non-technical audiences yet does not result in outrage by technical audiences over issues of semantics. I feel that I am evolving and making progress in this regard due to my perceived increased effectiveness in successful delivery of a complex idea as judged by the audience’s ability to paraphrase to increasingly equivalent statements versus the time used in my presentation.

In an effort to progress further in this regard, I feel that a footnote for this blog is in order. One of the trickiest points to get across is what is “mainstream,” “textbook,” or “accepted” science. In the past, my answers have varied as I searched for the most effective phrases to get the point across, though my current reading of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn has provided me an attractive solution to this particular problem.

At the beginning of Chapter 2, Kuhn says, “In this essay, ‘normal science’ means research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice. ” The definition gets more precise and clear as the reader proceeds through the essay, but there I have provided the most essential portion of the definition. The existence of this normal science is of utmost importance to scientific education and progress because it is the foothold for which further steps, progress, have been made through the history of science.

Please, upon reading this blog I ask that all references to “mainstream,” “textbook,” or “accepted” science be replaced with Kuhn’s definition of normal science. This substitution should not occur when reading accounts of anti-science meetings where I made my best effort at providing the dialogues and verbal exchanges verbatim, however my intended meaning of the terms mentioned is that of Kuhn’s normal science, which I will now use in the future.

Thanks, Mr. Wizard

June 13, 2007 at 8:07 pm | Posted in Good Media | 1 Comment



Don Herbert July 10, 1917 – June 12, 2007


Mr. Wizard’s last interview at Wired.com



Brownback confuses science, religion, and democracy

June 2, 2007 at 6:31 am | Posted in Policy | 4 Comments


Continue Reading Brownback confuses science, religion, and democracy…

Bad News: KBOE member Willard to be next Prez of NASBE

May 20, 2007 at 1:22 am | Posted in Policy | Leave a comment

Continue Reading Bad News: KBOE member Willard to be next Prez of NASBE…

Screening of Flock of Dodos from May 7

May 19, 2007 at 11:51 pm | Posted in Essays, Good Media | Leave a comment

The screening of Flock of Dodos on the Wichita State campus qualified as much more than an everyday event in Wichita. The capacity of the CAC theater is 450 persons, and the crowd was around 350-400. You could say it was the free admission, a free film with the filmmaker, Dr. Randy Olson, actually in attendance, but getting anyone in Wichita to leave their homes for an evening is about as easy as sorting atoms with eyeballs and fingers. These people were definitely interested.

Continue Reading Screening of Flock of Dodos from May 7…

Your last warning…

May 16, 2007 at 7:26 pm | Posted in Good Media | 6 Comments

Flock of Dodos makes its television premier tomorrow night on Showtime. Dr. Olson sent me this to help remind you.

It’s the perfect date movie, you can stay at home, and it’s free. There are simply no excuses to not watch it.

“Flock of Dodos” premiers on Showtime Thursday

May 15, 2007 at 9:06 am | Posted in Good Media | Leave a comment

Filmmaker Dr. Randy Olson and Muffy. Courtesy of the official site’s press kit. Continue Reading “Flock of Dodos” premiers on Showtime Thursday…

Back in the driver’s seat…

May 14, 2007 at 8:32 pm | Posted in Essays | 3 Comments

After a couple of very scary weeks, I have regained control of the “Defending Science” blog. A spammer hijacked this site and deleted my username and password. WordPress helped me regain control of this blog promptly after the incident, but I failed to check the blog to see if anything had changed. It had. The links section on the homepage was filled with SPAM links, and WordPress had no choice but to suspend this account. After a few emails and a lot of help from Mark in support I now have control again.

Thanks again, Mark.

I’ll continue to update this very specific blog, but I have also started a new one, Glorified Ape, so look for me there as well.

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