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Monday, April 08, 2013

Zack Kopplin Defends Science

I watched Real Time with Bill Maher a few days ago and was delighted to see a young student named Zack Kopplin defending science. This clip has been making the rounds under various titles such a "snail logic" and "you are not a scientist." You know that it hit home when even the Intelligent Design Creationists are blogging about it [Non-Scientist Says, "You're Not a Scientist"].

The ignorant conservatives refer to a grant on snail sex as an example of waste. The grant, Genomic Consequences of Asexuality, has John Logsdon as one of the co-principle investigators. We know John through his blog, Sex, Genes, and Evolution, and because he was a post-doc with Ford Doolittle. We also know that the evolution of sex is a serious problem and that New Zealand snails are an excellent model organism for testing many theories.

The thing that puzzles me is why conservative pundits like Steve Moore have any credibility at all. None of their arguments many any sense. If even a young student like Zack Kopplin can shoot them down then why do these ideas keep coming up in the US Congress?


Piotr Gąsiorowski said...

Well, he isn't just "a young student"; he's the Man Who Saved Louisiana. I am not surprised that they cringe at the sight of him.

Terry said...

"If even a young student like Zack Kopplin can shoot them down then why do these ideas keep coming up in the US Congress?"

Many reasons. Money, probably, first and foremost. Votes, a close second. If your constituents number among them huge donors to keep you in office, and the majority of the voters in your bailiwick are willfully ignorant, you sing they songs they want you to - if you're completely without morals, conscience or scruples. And then, many Congresscritters who spout such drivel actually believe it themselves.

Actual issues are largely irrelevant.

Faizal Ali said...

Quoth the IDiots:

The audience laughed and clapped approvingly at Zack's argument, convinced by what now passes for science that the two million dollar snail sex study must go on for the sake of, say, national security. Or something.

So we can safely assume that should the DI ever secure a federal grant (perish the thought) to study, say, the "design" of the bacterial flagellum,. they will do the principled thing and turn it down, since this would do nothing to advance national security. Right.

Joe Felsenstein said...

I always wondered whether there was any nonhuman organism one could study that would not sound silly. You want to study what, Dr. Thomas Hunt Morgan? Fruit flies? Really? How will that advance our national securit?. You want to think about what would happen if you rode on a beam of light, Dr. Einstein? Really?

Piotr Gąsiorowski said...

Dr. Fermi, will you please stop mucking about with neutrons and uranium nuclei, and do something to advance national security instead?

Faizal Ali said...

Neil deGrasse Tyson on the roles of the public and private sectors in scientific investigation:

Robert Byers said...

I'm not one to complain publicly about other people but Bill Maher!!
I won't say anymore.

Its not about snails but about who gets the money.
Hard working poor people have their money taken from them to study snail sex!
thats the rub.
These kids look like more people who will never do a real job but inherit from those who did or do.
The adult complainers got it right here.
Did anyone ask the snails?

Nullifidian said...

So in the battle between science and reactionary right-wing attacks on it, the DI sides with the reactionaries against science.

Here is my surprised face. :-|

The Rat said...

Inventing something that sees through clothes? Roentgen, are some kind of pervert?

Dave Bailey

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Morons like Byers can vote. Remember that.

Faizal Ali said...

Now now, Dr. Shallit, be fair. Mr. Byers is not just a moron. He's a racist moron. Let's not deny him his full credentials.

Diogenes said...

I heard Alexander Fleming is studying how bread mold secretes a goo that kills bacteria! Why can’t scientists invent something to cure diseases?

What’s that? You’re researching how a gas at non-equilibrium can stimulate emission of a light beam? Why can’t you invent something that could be useful in consumer goods?

Diogenes said...

Hard working poor people have their money taken from them to study snail sex!

Yeah! If conservatives were in charge, they'd fund education to teach snail abstinence.

Diogenes said...

When Zack Kopplin talks, that dripping sound you hear is pee running down Klinghoffer's leg.

Faizal Ali said...

There's apparently this crazy monk called Mendel who's spending all his time doing experiments on pea plants. Why not do something useful for humans, instead?

Mike Haubrich, FCD said...

Herr Lipperhy, I daresay I shall not fund any of your tomfoolery with optics. What do you expect to find? Angels dancing on Mars, perhaps. Ahaha! No, back to caring for patients' vision my dear boy. It's the Lord's work and you do well at it.