In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

I’d contend (and have contended) that the problem with science education is not that it fails to inculcate enough facts, but that it tries to inculcate too many. Science classes in high school and intro classes in college seem to be taught as though everyone needed preparation to pursue a Ph.D. Seriously, calculating solubility constants in high school chemistry classes is about as useful as teaching drivers’ ed students how to maneuver an F-16 fighter jet. Important general principles that could (and should) be retained for a lifetime are diluted to the point of homeopathic impotence by a flood of excessive technical detail.

If the state polls are right, then Mr. Obama will win the Electoral College. If you can’t acknowledge that after a day when Mr. Obama leads 19 out of 20 swing-state polls, then you should abandon the pretense that your goal is to inform rather than entertain the public.

Nov. 2: For Romney to Win, State Polls Must Be Statistically Biased - NYTimes.com

In which Nate Silver calls out nearly everyone in “news” organizations trying to push a pro-Romney narrative.

(via fancycwabs)

Nate Silver is not having any of your bullshit.

(via thegirlwiththefinchertattoo)

Logic does so burn on the way down, dunnit Republicans?

(via the-disgruntledgradstudent)

They all want it to be a photo finish because that’s more entertaining. I don’t doubt that the popular vote is going to be close but that’s simply not how you win the presidency, Obama is leading the total swing states by a mile.

(via joegressivism)

Yeah, only way Republicans win is if they cheat hardcore … which they ARE trying their best to do, granted.

(via bullmittartist)

When you give conservatives bad news in your polls, they want to kill you. When you give liberals bad news in your polls, they want to kill themselves.

Anonymous Pollster

(Source: crooksandliars.com)

So, every national poll released over the last several weeks — literally, all of them — show Obama leading Romney. Unsatisfied with these results, the right has decided to fiddle with the figures, and wouldn’t you know it, the new-and-improved polls all show Romney leading Obama.

It’s not just random cranks (see Morris, Dick) arguing all of the polls are unreliable; this idea is repeated widely in Republican circles…

[I]t’s worth appreciating why the right is having this reaction to all of the recent polls. I suspect epistemic closure has a lot to do with it. Remember, for many Republicans, it’s extremely easy to avoid objective information — they can read a conservative newspaper in the morning, listen to conservative talk radio during the day, come home and watch Fox News before going to bed.

These folks have very clear, preconceived ideas, which are rarely challenged. They know, with certainty, that President Obama is the single worst president in American history, whose every move has failed miserably in every possible way.

And so when every national poll shows Obama winning, it’s gut-check time — they can either believe Obama’s political standing is fairly strong or they can believe there’s a grand conspiracy involving rascally news organizations and biased pollsters. Take a wild guess which option is winning.

The Madow Blog, “Epistemic closure and poll denialism.” (via diadoumenos)

I hope all of the conservative’s trusted polls show Romney leading going into election day only to be trounced by an Obama landslide. Maybe then their bubble will pop, either that or they’ll just mobilize their militias.

Why Right-Wingers (and Media Hacks) Are Totally Wrong About What Americans Believe — We’re Becoming Less, Not More, Conservative

abaldwin360:

Despite some misguided triumphalism on the Right, America is not getting more conservative. In fact, if you look at lots of public opinion polls, you’ll find that just the opposite is true—Americans’ views on the most pressing issues of the day are actually solidly progressive, with strong support for the social safety net and growing support for once-controversial social issues like marriage equality.

Nevertheless right-wing and center-contrarian media outlets love to jump on polls that identify Americans as conservative, without ever asking what the difference is between what your average Ohioan means by that word and whatMarco Rubio means when he announces at CPAC that “the majority of Americans are conservatives.”

(Rubio’s inaccurate comments sparked a controversy and prompted a vehement reaction from Rachel Maddow this week, as Politifact debunked his statement—but then rated it “mostly true” anyway, proving the pervasiveness of the myth of conservative America.)

read more at AlterNet

mohandasgandhi:

More than 3/4 of Americans think corporations and the rich are too powerful
This is pretty interesting, especially since only 44% of Americans support the Occupy Wall Street protests (although just 35% disapprove). So, an overwhelming majority supports the principles behind the protests but not the protests themselves. Furthermore, only 29% approve of the way the protests are conducted. How the protests are portrayed in the media obviously influences these numbers. However, even though most believe the rich are too powerful, people still generally agree that hard work will get you success.

On the whole, Americans continue to say hard work leads to success; 58%  agree with the statement that “most people who want to get ahead can  make it if they are willing to work hard,” but this is substantially  lower than the proportion expressing this view in previous surveys.  Today, 40% agree that “Hard work and determination are no guarantee of  success for most people,” which is up six points since March.

This Pew Research poll also touches on the poor congressional approval ratings (9%). The general conclusion is that the GOP is in big trouble. Republicans don’t want to see most Congress members reelected, Democrats and independents say GOP leaders are to blame for congressional failures, only 49% of Republicans approve of the job the GOP leaders are doing, and the Republican party is overwhelmingly seen as the most extreme and unethical party.
Check out all of the poll results here.

mohandasgandhi:

More than 3/4 of Americans think corporations and the rich are too powerful

This is pretty interesting, especially since only 44% of Americans support the Occupy Wall Street protests (although just 35% disapprove). So, an overwhelming majority supports the principles behind the protests but not the protests themselves. Furthermore, only 29% approve of the way the protests are conducted. How the protests are portrayed in the media obviously influences these numbers. However, even though most believe the rich are too powerful, people still generally agree that hard work will get you success.

On the whole, Americans continue to say hard work leads to success; 58% agree with the statement that “most people who want to get ahead can make it if they are willing to work hard,” but this is substantially lower than the proportion expressing this view in previous surveys. Today, 40% agree that “Hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people,” which is up six points since March.

This Pew Research poll also touches on the poor congressional approval ratings (9%). The general conclusion is that the GOP is in big trouble. Republicans don’t want to see most Congress members reelected, Democrats and independents say GOP leaders are to blame for congressional failures, only 49% of Republicans approve of the job the GOP leaders are doing, and the Republican party is overwhelmingly seen as the most extreme and unethical party.

Check out all of the poll results here.

ryking:

Keep voting “Yes.”

I just checked, It’s up to 66% YES! I wonder how much more we can drown out the FoxNews propaganda??
#OccupyFoxNews

ryking:

Keep voting “Yes.”

I just checked, It’s up to 66% YES! I wonder how much more we can drown out the FoxNews propaganda??

#OccupyFoxNews

Obama Tax Proposal Has Overwhelming Support

liberalsarecool:

Andrew Sullivan: “Every single poll shows that the American public overwhelmingly supports higher taxes on the wealthy as part of a package to cut the deficit. The margins are staggering: the NYT poll shows a majority of 74 - 21; even Rasmussen shows a majority of 56 - 34. What the president proposed this morning is simply where the American people are at. If he keeps at it, if he turns his administration into a permanent campaign for structural fiscal reform, I don’t see how he loses the argument.”

That’s 3:1 support!! Three regular people for every one delusional corporatist hack.

#end_the_plutocracy

And the GOP is like: Challenge Accepted. They actually excel at turning public opinion against common sense. It’s not enough that people support it 3:1. Wait until they really fire up the fear machine and begin the campaign to convince people that Taxes on the rich are taxes on everyone; that it’s punishing success; that it will kill jobs. Reality is a mere inconvenience.

(Source: liberalsarecool)

jtotheizzoe:

Americans support embryonic stem cell research.
It’s that simple. A new survey out in Nature Biotechnology shows that most Americans are in support of using embryonic stem cells to treat cancer and heart disease, where possible. The numbers were lower for support of animal cloning and treatment of allergies, which shows that the American people want to use stem cells where they can be of most help, plain and simple.
While Washington continues to debate a court order banning federal funding for hESC research, there are private firms already putting them into patients to cure spinal injuries. Federal research money is going to be needed to move these therapies to the next level, and the American people supports it in huge numbers.
What are we waiting for?
(image adapted from Wikipedia)
(via The Scientist)

jtotheizzoe:

Americans support embryonic stem cell research.

It’s that simple. A new survey out in Nature Biotechnology shows that most Americans are in support of using embryonic stem cells to treat cancer and heart disease, where possible. The numbers were lower for support of animal cloning and treatment of allergies, which shows that the American people want to use stem cells where they can be of most help, plain and simple.

While Washington continues to debate a court order banning federal funding for hESC research, there are private firms already putting them into patients to cure spinal injuries. Federal research money is going to be needed to move these therapies to the next level, and the American people supports it in huge numbers.

What are we waiting for?

(image adapted from Wikipedia)

(via The Scientist)