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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Trying not to fool yourself

From Douglas Duncan, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO:

I’m a scientist (formerly Univ. of Chicago). You are 100% correct in your review of “An Inconvenient Truth.” Thanks for being so forthright.

The great scientist and teacher Richard Feynman defined science as “A way of trying not to fool yourself.” Wouldn’t it be nice if WE were the center of the universe? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could use anything in the environment without a care for the consequences? Alas, the laws of nature are not always the way we might like them.

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We live in a time when pleasant fantasies form the basis of much public discourse, but fantasies do not substitute for data, scientific truth, or plain old-fashioned clear thinking.

Last year National Geographic magazine felt it necessary to make a forthright statement similar to yours when their cover story reminded everyone that the truth of evolution hasn’t been questioned by scientists in over half a century. The so-called evolution “debate” is a fantasy, promoted by non-scientists who feel threatened.

Unfortunately extinction happens whether you believe in evolution or not. You’ve done your part to help us avoid that fate.

PS I’m a former WBEZ science commentator, and the guy who got 600,000 solar eclipse glasses put into the Sun Times for the Christmas day 2000 partial eclipse…

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