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    2012 Elections Crucial For Science And Secularism
    By Sascha Vongehr | August 23rd 2011 02:58 AM | 32 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Sascha

    Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory)...

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    In US presidential elections, voters are allowed to either pick open enemies of science, called “Republicans”, or habitual liars who distort and disregard science however it befits them, called “Democrats”. Third option: effectively none. Almost everywhere in the world, only devote religious people like Obama are allowed to climb to power. Germany’s chancellor Merkel has to basically hide that she was a physicist in order to ensure the voters trust her to be aligned with the obsessions of her “Christian Democratic Union”.

    While this is sometimes more or less openly discussed in Western intellectual circles, one aspect is hardly ever mentioned: In China, scientists decide at the highest level for many years now. Science bloggers, “freethinkers”, libertarians; they dream about secular people occupying the most important political positions; they dream of science having effective influence somewhere up there. While they yearn, openly secular scientists themselves occupy the most important political positions in the thus by now most important country in the world!


    Liu Yandong: 1964-1970 Student of the Department of Engineering Chemistry of Qinghua University, 1970-1972 technician and workshop head of Kaiping Chemical Plant, 1972-1978 Beijing Chemical Experiment Plant, … . Today, she is one of the world’s most politically influential and powerful females. Scientist – secular – unknown to Western intellectuals regardless whether of the pretend sciency or wannabe feminist variety – go figure.





    In China, science is not a campaign promise forgotten one minute after the vote:

    "It's amazing," says Alice Lyman Miller, a China scholar at Stanford University and editor of China Leadership Monitor, "the thought of the entire Politburo sitting around and listening to academics for hours." [time magazine]

    The science community pretends to encourage more science inside politics. They demand future directed, secular, peaceful leadership. Hu Jintao is clearly secular, a scientist, an amazingly humble person who went through a lot of hardship – carrying bricks belongs to his resume as much as being world leader. Via the Scientific Development Concept toward a harmonious society, Hu and people like him made science the leading ideology (!) of a quarter of the human population. Hu established "Follow Science, discard Ignorance!" as the third of his Eight Honors and Disgraces.


    Hu Jintao, the world’s most influential leader, has a scientific background and worked as an engineer building hydroelectric power stations. He also studied Buddhism in order to facilitate the dialogue with those still infected by religion in the underdeveloped west of his large and populous, multiethnic country (and the rest of the world).


    While you were watching the internet, proudly not belonging to the FOX news audience but instead reading progressives on new atheist’s blogs, China meanwhile has not only almost taken over the whole world in terms of diplomatic influence and economic power, but their former main doctrine has been effectively replaced by secular science as the official leading ideology of the new China!


    These are obviously enormous successes for science and secularism, yet science media or "new atheists" never mention it. Why? Are Western intellectuals annoyed not to profit from that the future already happened without their input? Do they hate to admit that “yellow scum” actually did it, not nice English speaking white folk? Western intellectuals have a long tradition of racism.


    If you ever asked yourself why China is about to steamroll the US into the religious mud of anti-scientific ignorance, bulk incarceration of innocents, and mutual race hating that the US is in, science and education are the answer. Because of China, Asia takes over the role of scientific leader.


    Wen Jiabao, 1960-1965 Student Department of Geology and Minerals at Beijing Institute of Geology, 1965-1968 Postgraduate majoring in geological structure.







    China’s amazing success is anathema to Western intellectuals, because their selective perception and thus loyalty lies with the institutionalized corruption in Western power structures that ensure their own positions. Enormous efforts have resulted in much progress in China’s fight against corruption. This success threatens all who base their existence on corrupt systems, like much of academia sadly is. Western intellectuals want to believe the ridiculous media distortions about China. A religious belief in an ill-defined pseudo-democratic doctrine rationalizes their own lifestyle. Wherever science doesn’t support that indoctrination, they disregard it. This underlines that having more intelligent humans alone does not help; it still needs a system that allows those minds to actually participate.


    In China, intelligent people join one of the parties in the Chinese party system in order to influence the political decisions via discussions and elections and all that which is basically impossible once you argue against corporate interests inside Western pseudo-democracies. Hu Jintao is just a single example for a guy from one of the poorest provinces in China being able through dedication to the cause and hard work to influence political decisions. He knows science, and his consensus seeking style has made science as important in China as it should be. The Chinese political system has made it possible that such could actually make it all the way to the most important position – no Western system allows such.

    Some of you see the end coming, global warming and overpopulation killing us, and you desperately want science to have more influence on political decisions soon. China is the only country where science, lowering population growth and city sprawling, and many other crucial topics have been taken seriously. Some of you fear religion to be the biggest future threat of all. China is basically the only country where secularism is taken seriously!


    Hu’s last term in office ends in the fall of 2012. A younger person will become the first among equals in the 22 member Politburo and its Standing Committee. If you are truly interested in science being heard and decisive in the world’s future, support China and do what you can so it does not lose its way, say forced by US aggression. The future of science, secularism, and the whole world will be decided next year in the important 2012 elections, by the responsible committees. I hope they can find replacements that understand the importance of science as much as Hu, people that grasp the importance of their predecessors’ role and positive influence. One promising candidate, Xi Jinping, has a background in organic chemistry and seems to see Hu as the role model he is, which are certainly good signs.


    Elected president of the People's Republic of China. Person cult has long been rejected by the new China. That is the irony of statues - those who deserve them most, if such had any value, do not get them.


    Vote for Reps or Dems, whoever you feel runs the US down further into the gutter faster; it does not matter too much. They all agree on that science comes after religion and personal gain. The important 2012 elections do not allow religious zealots or callous businessmen to deceive masses of silly consumers. Those 2012 elections are held in Beijing.

    There is only one more important election: You vote every day, with what you eat, what you buy, what you read, what you say, what you do. If you want to support science, secularism, and peaceful diplomacy, support China.

    Comments

    Blatantly bad things that the Chinese government does, like censor the internet and news, still give me a great deal of pause. However, you make some very good points that few people in the West are willing to stand by or defend (the occasional token "rebel" on some talk show might try - but that rarely includes rational discussion). The Western political machines lead their constituents like a priest leads his flock. We will find no answers to our modern problems in religion whether we are talking about actual religions or other unquestioned belief systems.

    China is the only country where science, lowering population growth and city sprawling, and many other crucial topics have been taken seriously.
    I'm sure there's more to China than meets the American media eye, but most industrial countries also take science, urban sprawl and population control seriously.

     
    vongehr
    It is all relative. Sure, many claim to take all kinds of topics seriously, at times even for the right reasons. But what else comes anywhere close to say the one child policy for lowering population growth? That is a level of serious that other countries can never get up to, because the religious would go nuts.
    Human rights advocists would also probably go nuts - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-child_policy#Human_rights.

    Hank
    Indeed, it isn't really a superior culture when a dictatorship forces choice on people.  Not saying America is perfect, we certainly have a heavy-handed government micromanaging conduct, but at least there is the pretense of a vote.
    Gerhard Adam
    Indeed, it isn't really a superior culture when a dictatorship forces choice on people.
    You mean as opposed to a democracy forcing choice on people?  The problem is that nobody wants government to interfere, but everyone wants government to make up for their mistakes and shortcomings.

    It's always ironic when I hear human rights advocates (or free market types) going on about how the market will correct for overpopulation, or the size of one's family.  That's obvious nonsense, but people love to believe that rubbish.

    The reason why it can never work, is that just like natural selection, the only way the "market" can correct for family size or overpopulation is to let those that make unwise decisions die.  To have government intervention to protect people from their own choices, denies any "correction".  Therefore, the only solution becomes heavy-handed government intervention.


    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    Preach it, brother.  While I might be completely content in a more libertarian environment, I recognize it is not workable if we're going to have a civilized society.  We shouldn't have people starving so we have to pick our spots.  I think dictating the number of children is over the line but I also think government health care which then outlaws certain foods, drinking, smoking, etc. is far too controlling.
    vongehr
    Sure - especially those from the Cato Institute. Human rights are as selectively demanded as science is supported. So it is called "Human right" to be able to destroy the future of Humankind. Why should I give a toss?
    While you, being such a proponent of reason and rationality, have no problem with forced sterilization of women. Right?
    You're no different from the "intellectuals" who enabled Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia: To solve a problem, individual rights and freedom of choice can be easily sacrificed by such as you.

    Gerhard Adam
    ...individual rights and freedom of choice can be easily sacrificed by such as you.
    You mean as opposed to being sacrificed by the likes of those that think that fostering more legislation is the way to force their will on others?  Yeah .... tyranny is so much different when its voted on.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    In China, intelligent people join one of the parties in the Chinese party system in order to influence the political decisions via discussions and elections and all that which is basically impossible once you argue against corporate interests inside Western pseudo-democracies.
    If they join one of the parties, that can work because those parties are then competing for people.  In America, Republicans are perceived as anti-science. though the anti-science positions held by those who vote Democrat are just as numerous, because scientists in academia vote for only one party - there is no competition for science votes in America.  As I have argued in the past, the science community has marginalized itself with that strategy.  No matter how bad things are, 85% of science is going to vote for Obama and no matter what good a Republican opponent might do for science, scientists in the US will not vote for anyone with an R before their name.

    George Bush was overwhelmingly pro-science when it comes to what counts most - funding - while Bill Clinton was overwhelmingly anti-science, yet in the minds of people it is the opposite because of their parties.

    Interesting article.   What outsiders might regard as conformity or opportunism, you have shown is a way to make a difference from the inside.
    .
    George Bush was overwhelmingly pro-science when it comes to what counts most - funding - while Bill Clinton was overwhelmingly anti-science, yet in the minds of people it is the opposite because of their parties.
    The following was written in 2004, after Bush's first term: .
    Since the Cold War ended, physicists in the United States have faced a continuing problem: no matter who has controlled the White House or Capitol Hill, federal research funds per scientist have continued to erode. “Physical science funding has remained flat in real terms for 15 years, but it is spread among more and more physicists,” says Kei Koizumi, director of the R&D Budget and Policy Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)..
    http://www.aip.org/tip/INPHFA/vol-10/iss-5/p12.html
    Hank
    They are making a different point.   Funding overall dropped during his predecessor and went up sharply in all sciences during the Bush years, just as I said.  

    What also happened was a whole lot more people think they deserve to have jobs in academia.  Even if jobs openings grow, we can only employ 16% of new PhDs each year.   We produce too many people who have a sense of entitlement about not working in the corporate sector.

    Pumping out too many PhDs is why there are 5,000 Ph.D.s working as janitors right now and another 8,000 waiting tables.  AAAS (and AIP) may think spending should grow to fill the number of PhDs, but they are an advocacy group so it's to be expected.   
    Bush increased funding for military research and development, and some certain areas, but his attitude was overwhelmingly anti-science. The fact is that funding didn't *overwhelmingly* increase, and the output of research papers by US scientists *overwhelmingly* dropped in comparison to european countries and US standing dropped from first to third overall. You tell me Bush overwhelmingly increased funding, I say you are lying:

    In the second Clinton administration, per-scientist real spending increased by 2.0%, entirely because of increases in 2000, which were too little to overcome the sharp cuts of the first Clinton term. Erosion resumed under the Bush administration, although at a slower pace than in the early post-Cold War years. By 2004, real spending for physical sciences research per scientist had dropped by another 5.3%.
    ...
    total physical science funding has fluctuated, but in 2004, it remains about 3% below its 2000 level, according to NSF figures. “The administration has consistently submitted budgets that cut overall real funding,” says Lubell, “but Congress has restored much of this.” The president’s 2005 budget request, now under debate in Congress, could prove an example of this trend because it cuts physical science research programs by 8.2% from the amount Congress appropriated for 2004, based on program-by-program analysis published by Physics Today (April 2004, p.35).

    We produce too many people who have a sense of entitlement about not working in the corporate sector. WTF?? That doesn't even make sense, nor do you cite any sources.
    but they are an advocacy group so it's to be expected.
    WTF?? It doesn't matter if advocates, or critics, or grade 1ers advocate something, rational evaluation determines what is valid, noy where it came from. Of course, your advocacy groups, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh et al. advocate talking points, straw men, cherry picking, and outright lying, so I wouldn't give any credence to what you advocate.

    rholley
    Sascha,

    Your apparently all-consuming hatred of Christianity and America cannot but make me compare you to Osama bin Laden.

    The problem is, that such a motivation makes you a such an overwhelmingly unreliable witness, so that even when you make correct statements about (for example) China, they cannot be trusted without independent verification.
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Gerhard Adam
    Robert

    In fairness, I don't see this as hatred, but rather an important wake-up call to the western nations that have simply assumed that they were always going to rise to the top.  It is amply been demonstrated that the west is fundamentally clueless about handling an economy, and if it wasn't for simple dumb luck, would have long-since gone bankrupt.  Instead, we see a resurgent attempt to re-establish an aristocracy rather than considering how one manages a nation/society.

    Similarly, I can understand why people have a variety of religious beliefs, but it is wrong (in the extreme) to presume that those beliefs should translate into political power and scientific decision-making.  That is where they over-extend themselves, and Sascha is exactly right for calling them on it.

    In the U.S., Christianity is no longer simply a belief, but it is rapidly becoming a litmus test of political acceptance.   The danger is that religion can be useful in living your own life, deriving meaning, and conducting yourself.  However, when that religious belief translates into a conviction that you are "right", then it simply becomes dangerous.  We've already experienced what politically powerful religions can do throughout history.  We don't need an encore performance.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Your apparently all-consuming hatred of Christianity and America cannot but make me compare you to Osama bin Laden.
    That's an inaccurate comparison, Robert. Sascha is not violently anti-American, and he's much too brighter than the general population to be as charismatic as bin Laden was.
    Hank
    Sascha is pretty egalitarian in his hatred of all countries and all religions and also atheists.  Generally, he is a contrarian and has slammed China numerous times also.

    He is the Scud missile of Science 2.0 - we see it when he takes off, we know he will do a lot of damage, it's just hard to predict where he will land.  :)
    rholley
    Gerhard, Enrico, Hank,

    I am not denying the cogency of what Sascha is pointing out.  This news item says so much:

    Martin Luther King memorial made in China


    However, two points I would contest:

    I do not think his Scud trajectories are randomly or equi-distributed.  Far more are sent towards America than China.

    Also, when aimed at atheists, my impression is that those people irk him because, in a backhanded way, they remind him of God.
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    vongehr
    Some strange comments on my almost throughout positive, even optimistic article. Some read something else entirely. In case you ever wondered what it feels like to be brainwashed: It feels just normal, you know, just like you feel right now. Amazing, isn't it?
    rholley
    what it feels like to be brainwashed
    Are you speaking from experience?
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    I am somewhat baffled over WHY the writer seems to think Democrats twist or lie about science. My experience has been that they try and expose the how and why as to climate, evolution, stem cells, etc.

    vongehr
    Just one example: Obama disregards the science about marijuana and now supports prohibition and the drug war, mass incarceration, and thus all the many problems that have been shown to come with it. Not only a clear deception of voters and braking of promises, but a clear not giving a shit about the science.
    Sure - they are careful where they need to keep voters, so they cannot turn on climate or evolution, but where ever it is about voters they think do not matter, science doesn't matter either.
    Hank
    Agreed, it is obvious to anyone who isn't rationalizing why they vote the way they do.  The left has easily as many anti-science positions as the right - and the politicians on the left also - but people are always surprised to see examples or say those are trivial or not 'representative' of the voters on that side (anti-agriculture, anti-vaccine, anti-research); though a ridiculous claim the entire right is against stem cell research and for pollution is a perfectly acceptable statement - by people on the left.
    Sascha-----One would Hardly count One issue, especially one like a medicinal research one as proof that "Democrats lie about and twist science"! Who knows what this can of worms will open. You cannot generalize Democrats and Science with this one highly controversial issue ! Sorry, but you are off base here, trying to frame Democrats this way.

    Same with Hank Campbell-----While the Entire right may not be against stem cell research or is pro pollution ----WHO holds the control for those? Who, despite 75% of Americans saying they want the rich taxes---will not budge on that issue. Republican leaders who control the laws. MOST people who vote Republican will buy their claims that we cannot tax the rich, we cannot make the rich clean up their air, that it is against God to tamper with stem cells, etc. To do otherwise leaves them wondering why they are voting for the Right.

    Gerhard Adam
    You cannot generalize Democrats and Science with this one highly controversial issue !
    It isn't just one issue.  Hank and Sascha are right.  As a Democrat myself (such as it is), I have to concede that they have behaved in a cowardly political manner, and they will twist and lie about science just as readily to suit their own agendas.  In addition, it is equally true that it will be mostly Progressive positions to question GMO foods, hold anti-vaccine attitudes, and ignore medical evidence if it interferes with their political agendas (i.e. vegans, anti-smoking, marijuana, etc).
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    That is the funny thing about partisan filtering.   No Republicans are against 'stem cell' research - it has been done for 40 years with no complaints - but pundits (in science and outside) manipulated public opinion by saying new hESC research and and stem cells were interchangeable so if you were concerned about one new technology 10 years ago, you apparently wanted people to get cancer.  It's classic spin but he/she fell for it, yet doesn't think Democrats do that.   Then they go off on taxing people because the 1970s, when tax rates were 70%, were apparently awesome.  So awesome Jimmy Carter got bounced out after one term.
    Gerhard Adam
    Yeah, but don't get me started on the taxing issue.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    It's fine to do so but it has nothing to do with which side is anti-science - yet that is the argument invariably invoked when it is demonstrated that the left has as many kooky anti-science positions as the right.
    Gerhard Adam
    Agreed.  It's just that I can't let any tax related comment pass by.  :)
    Mundus vult decipi
    Interesting article. Some weaknesses are: 1. using atheist and secularist interchangeably; 2 assuming atheists are "scientific" and religious are "anti-scientific"; 3. assuming overpopulation doomsday scenarios with very weak logical backing. 4. Applying naive overpopulation arguments to defend the one-child policy.

    As I understand the term secularists believe that religious belief should not be part of the political structure - this does not determine any particular religious belief, for example atheism.

    Science will not answer philosophical questions - for example why are we here? Is there a meaning to life? These questions can bring an individual to some sort of religious stance which does not imply that science will or will not be rejected. Some particular beliefs of particular religions do contradict science but there is no necessary contradiction in a religious attitude in general. Whether there is meaning in human suffering, for example, does not effect whether we should increase our understanding of the world through observation and experiment.

    Overpopulation: There are a number of arguments that this planet can only support a finite number of human beings. The logical jump from "finite number" to "some number we are very close to" requires un-scientific assumptions. The same argument has been made for 200 years, sooner or later you need to make the observation that parts of the argument are missing. Using this argument to support China's one-child policy is weak. It's also naive - China didn't adopt the one-child policy to avoid world overpopulation, it adopted it in order to allow China to feed its own population, which would allow the growth of a stronger China. It is no longer in the interest of a stronger China and will now be overturned.

    Lastly, the arguments that Western "business" and "politics" are invested in "religion" are extremely naive. A more realistic description of the difference is that Wester civilization is invested in the idea of individualism where China is not.

    Gerhard Adam
    There are a number of arguments that this planet can only support a finite number of human beings. The logical jump from "finite number" to "some number we are very close to" requires un-scientific assumptions.
    Sorry, but your entire statement is flawed.  Human population has long surpassed the planet's "carrying capacity".  Human population size is solely supported by human technology and is absolutely dependent on its political/social systems for implementation.

    So, if you want to argue that there are enough resources to allow continued technological exploitation which enables human population growth, then you're correct that a specific number isn't known.  On the other hand, it is completely scientific to recognize that this planet's biodiversity is subject to more questions than merely "how many humans per square foot can we place here".

    ANY population that experiences unconstrained growth introduces stresses into its population and will compromise the environment in which it exists.  To pretend that humans are somehow different is "unscientific". 
    ...it adopted it in order to allow China to feed its own population, which would allow the growth of a stronger China.
    Once again, what does this have to do with anything?  I've already indicated that human population growth is dependent on human political/social systems for implementation, so it shouldn't be surprising that those same systems are engaged in establishing the "rules" under which they expect to achieve their goals.

    This is precisely what such unbridled growth gives rise to.  Humans want to believe they have a "right" to have children, but this is absurd on the face of it.  "Rights" are politically determined and have no place in any discussion regarding biology.  Therefore if one wants to consider that status of the "right" to have children, then one must be prepared to acknowledge that such a "right" can also be removed or curtailed.
    Mundus vult decipi