23 September 2006

 

Lying for the Cause

A common theme can be detected in a number of recent headline stories. The willingness of people to lie to protect or promote the causes with which they are identified, disregarding the over-riding categorical imperative of the objective truth. There is also a welcome trend, exemplified by the Office of National Statistics, the Royal Society, and Richard Dawkins, for the guardians of truth to begin biting back at the purveyors of untruth and unreason. Let us hope that this is not just a few isolated instances but the start of a sustained campaign.

We are familiar with the spin put on things by politicians. Tony Blair (known to many as Bliar for his far worse
past porkies) jumped the gun on the employment statistics. He forecast that the figures would show a 'very welcome' fall in the number of people claiming unemployment benefit. The figures, showed that unemployment rose to 1.7 million in three months. He was properly slapped down by his own statisticians. His counterpart in Hungary actually admitted to outright lying to win his last election, and sparked outraged riots.

We are also familiar with the way that spokespersons for large companies are willing to bend the truth for the sake of retaining their well-paid jobs. Even that quiet corner of the establishment, The Royal Society, has been sufficiently outraged to issue a complaint to Exxon-Mobil to stop its funding of climate change denial.

The Iranian President Ahmadinejad has again denied the Holocaust. Representatives of the Vatican have been propagating lies about Aids. Of course the religions are past-masters of lying for God, and lying for Allah.

The creationists are especially accomplished at lying for Jesus. They even have the effrontery to set up a site with the title Truth in Science!

Richard Dawkins in his interview with the Paxman on Newsnight last night (22nd September) about his new book The God Delusion, spoke of his devotion to truth, by which of course he meant not his personal views but objective scientific truth obtained by examining the evidence and applying unbiased logical reasoning and scientific method.

He has now set up the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. In his introductory video he says: "The enlightenment is under threat. So is reason. So is truth. So is science, especially in the schools of America. I am one of those scientists who feels that it is no longer enough just to get on and do science. We have to devote a significant proportion of our time and resources to defending it from deliberate attack from organized ignorance. We even have to go out on the attack ourselves, for the sake of reason and sanity."

Secularism and Science are fortuunately causes in which no lying is called for, in fact quite the opposite, devotion to the truth.

Comments:
It looks as if "Truth in Science" has suddenly become very active. They must be getting big financial backing from somewhere. The following message has been posted on the
Randi
Foundation forum by
"Gator Mynah":
"...I am head of science in a comprehensive school in north-east England. My post this morning contained a Jiffy bag with two free DVDs in it from an organisation called Truth in Science, which you may have heard of before, but I haven't, though as it's based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, I wouldn't be surprised if there were links to the notorious creationists at Emmanuelle College.
To cut a long story short, they have sent these DVDs to every secondary school and college in the UK, trying to push the Intelligent Design side of things, even including such 'Learning Outcomes' as "Understand that irreducibly complex structures cannot evolve by slight, successive, advantageous variations, because at certain points in their evolution they will lose function altogether". This is only one of many gems."...
 

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