From the beginning, my Twitter timeline has shown me history as it unfolds… the Arab Spring, the U.S. congressional elections of 2010… the disastrous Gulf oil spill… last March, the Japanese trifecta of disasters in the form of tsunami, earthquake, and the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, and even now the Occupy Wallstreet movement.

Though purely physical events, and their resulting need for disaster relief efforts, have been prominent, those involving the policy and politics of humans have been at the forefront of social networking sites, and by far have the largest number of interested persons keeping up with them.

I’ve seen the word get out on Twitter and in the blogosphere even faster than the usual news outlets, and though the accuracy of what’s said is often unreliable, not all of it is.

The notions of bias and error are parasitic on the concept of getting at least something right…we really can know things, so it is nihilistic, and incoherent, to say that we cannot know anything because it’s all fatally in error.

Counterfeit money entails the existence of at least some genuine legal tender, or the term is meaningless.

I personally dislike politics…not one of my favored subjects, but I’ve been schooling myself on political issues, and here and there my readers may have noticed a post dealing, however obliquely, with some form of politically-charged topic, though I prefer to limit myself to those that concern science funding, science education, and policy decisions based on science.

All good science has political ramifications, because it frequently finds itself at odds with the reigning champions of a particular ideology, those with little love for facts or the fact-finders when these conflict with the agenda of those in positions of authority.

I think, though I find politics not much to my liking, that attempts by those in authority to gain it and retain it through corrupt, dishonest, unethical and frequently illegal means need to be vigilantly checked by skeptical eyes trained upon their intent and misdeeds.

Why vigilance?

Because those who would control others through greed, selfishness and intolerance are tireless, well-funded, and with powerful lobbies controlling them or under their control, depending on which way the money is flowing.

In an era of political, ideological and religious extremism, we who value what rights we either have or can make for ourselves have a rightful interest in checking the power plays of whoever we find ourselves opposed to. That’s what free-thinking is about.

Carl Sagan, in one of his last interviews once said “If we are not able to ask skeptical questions…to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs.” And I feel that at no time in our history, save perhaps the first American Revolution, has that been more true than the present.

[Last Update: 12/02/2011 – Grammatical Correction in Paragraph #6]

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