Noam Chomsky has been relentlessly demystifying and exposing political BS since the 1960s. He did it almost alone for decades though lately the torch passed to TV satirists like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Reading Chomsky on politics, someone said, is like a purge. You may not recall all the disgusting propaganda he catalogued but you feel your system has been flushed out and you can start again. What a contribution. He's still doing it, at 87, with detail and high moral outrage, during this U.S. election.
But there's always been an alternate Chomsky: the pioneer of generative linguistics, a philosopher and historian of science. His recent book, What Kind of Creatures Are We?, is by Chomsky Two, the one who plumbs the mysteries of human thought and speech.
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As I write this I'm in Montreal just wrapping up my coverage of the Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC) annual conference.
A strong democracy needs strong science
Canada's commitment to making decisions based on evidence, not politics, helped to build our prosperity and make our country one of the safest, healthiest, best educated and most compassionate countries in the world. Making evidence-based decisions requires investing in the science and research upon which they are founded but in recent years, our federal government has turned away from science, putting at risk the foundation of what makes Canada great.
A futuristic article by Kim Stanley Robinson, "How Science Saved the World," can be found in the February 2000 issue of the prestigious journal Nature (Vol. 403, p. 23). Looking 1,000 years into the future, Robinson reviews two books written around 3,000 AD: Science in the Third Millennium by Professor J. S. Khaldun; and Scientific Careers 2001-3000, written by a computer named "Ferdnand."