December 18, 2005January 22, 2006Meeting Report

January 6, 2006

Karl Mogel

Antibodies for Irrationality:
Making Sense of the Senseless

Karl MogelKarl Mogel is a young man who, while an undergraduate, started a science column in the Cal Aggie, the student newspaper at the University of California at Davis.

Karl's writing career started almost by accident. He wrote an opinion piece criticizing an article on "nonexistent" global warming that had appeared in the paper. After that he was invited to produce more articles for the paper. He later started a regular science column that ran for three years. Karl related to us many of his experiences in debunking pseudo-science and in confronting those advancing anti-scientific agendas. He took on the author of an astrology column in the Cal Aggie. He also related his experiences attending meetings at which "intelligent design" was espoused.

Karl said that the easy kind of irrationality to deal with is that in which the adherents openly admit that there could be no facts that could possibly cause them to change their opinion. The obviously closed mind is easy to debunk. Somewhat more difficult are the proponents of "intelligent design," but after a little digging they clearly appear as advocates of an updated creationism. Karl mentioned that, in 1987, the creationist tome, "Of Pandas and People," was rewritten to replace the word "creationism" with "intelligent design" everywhere it occurred. He questions the ethics of "intelligent design" proponents.

Karl opened himself to questions and we had a give and take discussion. One of the issues raised was a lawsuit by a fundamentalist high school challenging the right of the University of California to reject its science and other classes that do not meet the University’s academic standards.

Report prepared by Wayne Luney, Recorder

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