Sunday, February 20, 2005

Points to ponder

We were on our way home from church tonight when, flipping through the radio stations, we found this news report from KLove (Christian radio station). Basically, they were reporting on a church body in CO (first article?) that was pushing adoption of foster kids. Don't get me wrong, I think the program is a great idea, but I'm kinda shocked that this is news worthy. I think the bible clearly illustrates that the church is responsible for taking care of those who can't take care of themselves. Are the number of churches that are reaching out in support of the community that few?

Many of you may have read about a new study concluding that the main cause of global warming is the effect of man-made greenhouse gases. Now, I understand that the purpose of many of these articles is not to present scientific findings. However, I do have some questions for the researchers regarding collection/processing of data. I have been on the "unsure" side of global warming for a long time, but I am truly interested as to whether this study will prove to be accurate. I know I don't have much of a weather/climate background, but I have enough of a scientific computing background to know if their methods were accurate. When (and if) this study gets published, expect a review from me. That being said (despite the findings of the study), I don't think there is any downfall in trying to reduce the amount of pollution we create as a nation, whether that be through the Kyoto treaty or other means.

On more of an ethics side: is it right to release data to media sources before they are verified for accuracy? WARNING: In my ethics class, we've been talking a lot about scientific integrity (including sloppy experimentation), so I may be over-reacting a bit. I understand that a finding of this magnitude may be an exception to the rule, but should it be? What I mean is, the whole point of the peer review system is to minimize insignificant or incorrect findings before they are impressed upon other researchers or the world. Without such checks or balances research as we know it would be EXTREMELY hard to come by. IF (big if?) this study (or any study) turns out to be insignificant or incorrect (not published) will a retraction (if a retraction is given) reach as broad of an audience? I doubt it.


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